WHO declares end to monkeypox public health emergency

Move signals that crisis due to mpox has come under control

WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said mpox no longer constitutes a global emergency. Reuters
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said it was ending a nearly year-long global health emergency for the monkeypox virus "mpox", a viral disease that led to confirmed cases in more than 100 countries.

The organisation declared mpox a public health emergency of international concern in July and backed its stand in November and February.

The WHO's director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the end of the emergency status for the disease based on the recommendation of the emergency committee, which met on Wednesday.

The move signals that the crisis due to mpox, which spreads through direct contact with body fluids and causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions, is under control.

Almost 90 per cent fewer mpox cases were reported in the past three months, compared with cases in the same duration before that, the WHO chief said.

More than 87,000 mpox cases have been confirmed globally from the beginning of last year through to May 8 this year, according to the WHO's latest report.

The WHO also recently also declared an end of public health emergency status for Covid-19.

"While the emergencies of mpox and Covid-19 are both over, the threat of resurgent waves remains for both. Both viruses continue to circulate and both continue to kill," Dr Tedros said.

The WHO tag is meant to trigger a co-ordinated international response and unlock funding for collaboration on sharing of vaccines and treatment.

Updated: May 11, 2023, 3:47 PM