Updated Jul 23, 2022 - Health

Monkeypox declared a global emergency by WHO

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization declared on Saturday that monkeypox, which has spread to more than 70 countries, is a global emergency.

Why it matters: The declaration by the U.N. health agency could lead to investment in treating the disease, but it could also lead to a shortage for already-scarce vaccines, AP writes.

The big picture: The WHO's "global emergency" designation puts monkeypox in the same category as the COVID-19 pandemic, AP previously reported.

By the numbers: There are now more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox outside Africa, roughly five times the number when the advisers met in June and declined to formally declare it a public health emergency, the New York Times reports.

What they're saying: There was a lack of consensus among experts on the WHO's emergency committee, leading director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to make the decision to declare a public health emergency.

  • "We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little," Tedros said.
  • “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,” he added.
  • “That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups.”

State of play: In the U.S., there are nearly 3,000 cases of monkeypox, including two children.

Go Deeper: What we know about the monkeypox outbreak

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