The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it has removed the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries in its data collected on monkeypox for an improved uniform response to the virus. The disease was discovered on a number of continents after being generally confined to West and Central African countries.
“We are removing the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries and reporting on countries together where possible, to reflect the unified response needed,” the WHO said in its June 17 update of the outbreak situation, but sent this Saturday to the media.
It further said that between January 1 and June 15, the United Nations (UN) health organization confirmed at least 2,103 cases of monkey pox, along with one probable case and one death in 42 countries. The WHO’s lifting of the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries came just days before the emergency meeting of the Geneva-based agency scheduled for June 23. On Thursday, the WHO is set to meet to determine whether the global monkeypox outbreak should be classified as a public health problem. emergency of international importance.
84% of monkey pox cases detected in the European region
While designating the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern is the UN agency’s highest alarm for the world, 84% of monkeypox primarily affects the European region. Other countries where the disease has been confirmed by health authorities include the Americas, Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Pacific. However, the WHO has said it believes the true number of infections is likely higher.
However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that if monkeypox is declared an international health emergency, the disease would be given “the same designation” as the COVID-19 pandemic. He further noted that the meeting of experts outside the health service could help improve understanding of the monkeypox virus.
“With the advice of the emergency committee, we can get the situation better under control. But it doesn’t mean we’re going straight to a public health emergency of international concern,” said Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, WHO Emergency Director for Africa, referring to the WHO’s highest alert level for viral outbreaks.
“We don’t want to wait until the situation gets out of hand to call the emergency commission,” he added.