The World Health Organization’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the escalating global monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Saturday.
This is an escalated status but below the requirements needed for a declaration of a pandemic, in part over its low death rates.
Currently, the vast majority of reported cases are in the WHO European Region. “WHO/Europe remains committed to partnering with countries and communities to address the outbreak with the required urgency,” Dr.
Tedros said during a media briefing. In laying out reasons for the declaration the WHO head noted; “We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,” Tedros said. “I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views.” There had been reservations by the health agency’s expert committee who said the monkeypox outbreak did not yet amount to an international emergency in a meeting in June.