Health · June 23, 2022

WHO meeting on monkeypox, a possible global health emergency

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting Thursday to discuss the monkeypox virus outbreak and decide whether it is warranted to declare a global public health emergency.

With thousands of reported cases in dozens of countries around the world, the statement would mean the United Nations health agency considers the spread of the disease an “extraordinary event” with a risk of further transmission.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the outbreak “unusual and worrying”.

In Africa, where monkeypox is endemic in some countries, it has been sickening people for decades, with one version killing up to 10% of those infected.

dr  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks after his re-election during the 75th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2022.

dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks after his re-election during the 75th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2022.
(REUTERS / Denis Balibouse)

US MONKEYPOX: WHERE ARE THE CASES NOW?

No deaths have been reported outside of Africa, however, and scientists have yet to identify major genetic changes in the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are now more than 150 confirmed cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus in the United States.

This 2003 electron micrograph, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions (left) and spherical immature virions (right) isolated from a sample of human skin associated with the prairie dog outbreak of 2003.

This 2003 electron micrograph, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions (left) and spherical immature virions (right) isolated from a sample of human skin associated with the prairie dog outbreak of 2003.
(Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

40 of these cases are in California, 22 in New York, 19 in Illinois and 16 in Florida.

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Although most new cases of monkeypox have been observed in gay or bisexual men, experts warn everyone is at potential risk.

This photo taken on March 5, 2021 shows a World Health Organization (WHO) sign at the entrance of its Geneva headquarters.

This photo taken on March 5, 2021 shows a World Health Organization (WHO) sign at the entrance of its Geneva headquarters.
(FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

people usually will infected with the monkeypox virus B. by contact with skin lesions or body fluids of infected animals or humans or by contact with materials contaminated with the virus.

Monkeypox, which is related to smallpox, has milder symptoms.

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Some of these symptoms include fever, chills, rash, and pain before lesions develop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.