WHO convenes emergency meeting on global monkeypox outbreak

The World Health Organization has announced that it will hold an emergency meeting with outside experts next Thursday, June 23, to assess whether the monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern, the highest alert that the WHO can issue. Currently, this designation only applies to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and polio.

The number of confirmed and suspected monkeypox infections continues to increase day by day in non-endemic countries around the world despite the lack of travel links and connections to clusters known to have been exported from Africa. Many public health experts have urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to respond more urgently.

At a press conference on Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that the virus had behaved unpredictably and said that with the number of affected countries rapidly increasing, international coordination was needed. to fight the epidemic. He noted: “I think it is now clear that there is an unusual situation.”

The cumulative number of cases, including both confirmed and suspected cases, reached nearly 1,800 as of June 14, 2022. The seven-day average of new cases (over 80) has increased steadily since the first case was detected in England on May 6. 2022, in a British citizen returning from Nigeria, where the virus is endemic.

The map shows the distribution of new cases of monkeypox outside the area where the virus is endemic. Countries in red have the largest outbreaks, while those in orange have fewer, and those in light beige have the fewest.

According to a monkeypox data visualization created by Antonio Caramia, there have been 1,688 confirmed cases and 99 suspected cases. The following 50 countries and territories have confirmed or suspected cases: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Wales.

England leads the world with the highest number of confirmed cases, with 452. Spain ranks second with 313 confirmed cases and 32 suspected cases. Portugal are third with 209. Germany have 188 confirmed and one suspect. Canada has 123 confirmed and 24 suspected, France 91 confirmed and the United States seventh with 65.

In addition, monkeypox is endemic in ten West and Central African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Le Congo and Sierra Leone.

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