WHO declares monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.
The WHO label – a “public health emergency of international concern” – is designed to sound an alarm that a coordinated international response is needed and could unlock funding and global efforts to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
“WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions except in the European region where we assess the risk is high,” said Tedros.
“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that’s concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners.”
Members of an expert committee that met on Thursday to discuss the potential recommendation were split on the decision, two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Reuters earlier, but the final decision falls to the U.N. agency’s director-general.
Announcing his decision to declare the health emergency during a media briefing in Geneva, Tedros confirmed that the committee had failed to reach a consensus, with nine members against and six in favor of the declaration.
Previously, Tedros has typically endorsed expert committee recommendations, but the sources said he had likely decided to back the highest alert level due to concerns about escalating case rates and a short supply of vaccines and treatments, despite the lack of a majority opinion.