AKIPRESS.COM - The rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organization's highest level of alert, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Saturday, Reuters reported.
The WHO label - a "public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)" - is designed to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
Members of an expert committee that met on Thursday to discuss the potential recommendation were split on the decision, with nine members against and six in favour of the declaration, prompting Tedros himself to break the deadlock, he told reporters.
"Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners," Tedros told a media briefing in Geneva.
He said the risk of monkeypox - which spreads via close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions - was moderate globally, except in the Europe, where the WHO has deemed the risk as high.