Monkeypox outbreak not a global emergency, WHO says

The monkeypox outbreak does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern at this time, the World Health Organization said June 25. 

The agency on June 23 held a meeting to decide whether the outbreak constitutes the designation, which represents the WHO's highest level of alert. COVID-19 and polio are currently the only outbreaks with the global emergency designation. 

"Overall, in the report, [the emergency committee] advised me at this moment the event does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern … but recognized that the convening of the meeting itself reflects the increasing concern about the international spread of monkeypox," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, calling the outbreak an "evolving health threat." 

To stop further spread of the outbreak, Dr. Tedros underlined the importance for countries to bolster surveillance, contact tracing and isolation efforts as well as the availability of vaccines and treatments for at-risk populations. 

The emergency committee could reconvene to reevaluate the decision "in the coming days and weeks based on the evolution of the outbreak," Dr. Tedros said in a statement. 

There have been 201 confirmed monkeypox cases across 25 states and Washington, D.C., as of June 24, according to the CDC. Globally, there have been more than 3,000 cases, Dr. Tedros said in his June 25 remarks. Click here to read more updates about the outbreak in the U.S.

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