By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
GENEVA (Worthy News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak a “global emergency,” raising the prospect of tighter health measures.
Saturday’s announcement by the Geneva-based WHO came after monkeypox cases were reported in dozens of countries.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, noted: “an outbreak that has spread around the world.” He said it was spreading “rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations.”
For all of these reasons, “ I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a global health emergency of international concern,” he added.
The WHO chief said while the risk of monkeypox was “moderate” globally, it was “high” in Europe, with “a clear risk of further international spread.”
Globally, there have so far been 16,016 monkeypox cases – 4,132 of which were in the past week, according to WHO data released over the weekend. It is now in at least 75 countries and territories, with five deaths.
Europe has the highest total cases, at 11,865, and the highest increase in the last seven days, with 2,705, the WHO said.
Monkeypox is a viral infection typically found in animals in central and western Africa, although it can cause human outbreaks.
The WHO said the outbreak was mainly among men having sex with men who had reportedly had sex recently with new or multiple partners.
However, experts cautioned that anyone could get monkeypox as it is spreading by close or intimate contact.
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