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WHO to Rename Monkeypox, Determine if Outbreak is Intl Emergency

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is working with partners on renaming monkeypox and its variants.

It is also putting a mechanism in place to help share available vaccines more equitably, and has set a meeting for 23 June to determine if the disease should be declared an emergency of international concern’.

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed these at a news conference on Tuesday in Geneva.

The 23 June meeting will bring members of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee together to assess whether the continuing outbreak of monkeypox warrants its highest level of global alert, which currently applies only to the COVID-19 pandemic and polio.

Tedros Ghebreyesus cropped

Dr. Ghebreyesus said the WHO had published guidelines on vaccination against monkeypox and also published recommendations for governments regarding case detection and control of the disease.

The monkeypox virus was earlier eradicated in 1980 but the WHO considers vaccines used then – which some countries still have in their stores – as inappropriate for the current outbreak.

1,600 Cases Confirmed Across 39 Countries

So far this year, more than 1,600 confirmed cases and almost 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported to the WHO.

The reports have come from 39 countries, including 32 non-endemic nations.

At least 72 deaths have been reported in the seven countries where the disease had been previously reported.

No deaths have been registered so far from the newly affected countries.

Monkeypox is transmitted through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.

Clothing, bedding, towels, or objects such as eating utensils or dishes that have been contaminated with the virus can also infect others.


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