WHO Director-General declares the ongoing monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
8:6:19 2022-07-25 139

On July 23, the WHO Director-General declared the escalating global monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). 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.

An atypical outbreak of monkeypox was declared in the WHO European Region in May 2022, following reports of a number of cases across several Member States not linked to countries where the disease is endemic.  All the cases detected so far in this outbreak have been identified as the milder West African clade.

While everyone can catch monkeypox, not everyone is at equal risk. People who closely interact with someone who is infectious, including through sexual contact, are at greater risk for infection; particularly sexual partners, but also, potentially, household members and health workers.

European Member States affected by monkeypox have initiated public health investigations to better understand the situation, including launching studies into the disease epidemiology and virus characteristics. Countries are also implementing control measures, such as case finding and contact tracing, as well as providing supportive care for patients. Importantly, they are communicating risks about monkeypox and advice on how to avoid infection, engaging with community actors to ensure that those most likely to be affected take informed decisions to protect their health.

WHO is facilitating information sharing to support investigations into the Region’s monkeypox outbreak. It is also developing guidance for authorities on how to protect frontline workers who may be at risk, as well as developing and sharing technical recommendations on other aspects of the disease. This includes how to communicate risks, taking into account the perceptions and behaviours of diverse population groups.

 

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