World Health Organization to Consider Whether Monkeypox is Next ‘Pandemic’

The Washington Examiner:

The World Health Organization is looking into whether the breakout of monkeypox should be of international concern.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced during a Tuesday media briefing that the international agency will be convening shortly to discuss whether monkeypox is the next “public health emergency.”

“The outbreak of monkeypox is unusual & concerning. For that reason, I have decided to convene the emergency committee under the International Health Regulations next week to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” Tedros said during the briefing.

The director-general said the WHO has published interim guidance for the disease, which reached more than 1,600 cases reported in 39 countries as of Tuesday. The guidelines said that for the time being, mass vaccination is not required and that the application of smallpox or monkeypox vaccines should be based on a full assessment of risks and benefits on a case-by-case basis. While smallpox vaccines have provided some protection, there is limited data to affirm the notion that the vaccines will inoculate people against monkeypox, Tedros said. The decision to use vaccines must be made by the affected person and the healthcare providers, too.

Tedros added that health experts are working with the agency to consider renaming the disease and intend to make announcements about the renaming as soon as possible.

The U.S. government has begun taking action to prepare for outbreaks of monkeypox. Preparations include the ordering of hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses and the development of distribution methods. At least 49 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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