Mpox global health emergency is over, says WHO chief

Mpox global health emergency is over, says WHO chief

Disease 'continues to pose significant public health challenges that need robust, proactive, sustainable response,' says Tedros Ghebreyesus

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - The World Health Organization on Thursday announced that mpox is no longer a global health emergency.

"Yesterday, the emergency committee for mpox met and recommended to me that the multi-country outbreak of mpox no longer represents a public health emergency of international concern," WHO head Tedros Ghebreyesus told a press briefing, adding that he has accepted that advice.

He, however, said it does not mean the mpox is over as a global health threat. The disease "continues to pose significant public health challenges that need a robust, proactive and sustainable response," Ghebreyesus warned.

"While we welcome the downward trend of mpox cases globally, the virus continues to affect communities in all regions, including in Africa, where transmission is still not well understood," he said. "Travel-related cases in all regions highlight the continued threat. There is a particular risk for people living with untreated HIV infection."

The WHO head said although the emergencies of mpox and COVID-19 are both over, "every day WHO continues to respond to 50+ emergencies."

Mpox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. Patients often start exhibiting symptoms with a fever, enlarged lymph nodes, back pain, and muscle aches before a rash appears on the skin, according to the WHO.

According to the global health body, 87,377 viral disease cases and 140 deaths have been reported since January 2022 worldwide.

Last year, the WHO renamed monkeypox to mpox, saying the name of the disease had acted as "racist and stigmatizing language."

About Sudan, the WHO head said the organization has verified 30 attacks on health facilities, while 70% of them which are in areas affected by fighting are out of service.

As well as facing shelling and insecurity, people are dealing with dwindling supplies of water, food, medicines, and electricity, he added.

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