WHO to consider again whether monkeypox outbreak is public health emergency of international concern

Jul 6, 2022, 1:58 PM
As monkeypox cases continue to rise globally, the World Health Organization plans to reassess wheth...
As monkeypox cases continue to rise globally, the World Health Organization plans to reassess whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC/AP via CNN)
(Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC/AP via CNN)

(CNN) — As monkeypox cases continue to rise globally, the World Health Organization plans to reassess whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

In late June, WHO’s Emergency Committee determined that the outbreak did not meet the criteria for such a declaration.

But as the virus continues to spread, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants the committee to take up the issue again, based on the latest data around the epidemiology and evolution of the outbreak.

Tedros said Wednesday that he will convene the committee during the week of July 18, or sooner if needed.

WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, as “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and that may “potentially require a coordinated international response.”

“On monkeypox, I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus. Across the world, there has now been more than 6,000 cases recorded in 58 countries,” Tedros said.

“Testing remains a challenge, and it’s highly probable that there are a significant number of cases not being picked up,” he added. “Europe is the current epicenter of the outbreak, recording more than 80% of cases globally.”

Monkeypox, a viral disease, occurs mostly in central and western Africa, where the virus is endemic — but as part of the latest outbreak, the virus has spread to many regions of the world where it is not typically seen.

Cases are also being reported in African countries that previously were not affected by the virus, and in those places where the virus is endemic, record numbers are being recorded, Tedros said Wednesday. WHO teams are following the data closely, he said.

WHO is working with countries and vaccine manufacturers to coordinate sharing of vaccines for monkeypox, which are scarce. The organization is also working with groups to break the stigma around the virus and spread information to help protect people.

“I want to particularly commend those that are sharing videos online via social media channels, talking about their symptoms and experiences with monkeypox,” he said. “This is a positive way to break down the stigma about a virus that can affect anyone.”

Early data on the outbreak has suggested that gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of reported cases, leading to concern about stigmatizing the disease and the LGBTQ community.

However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has the virus can be at risk.

The monkeypox virus can spread from person to person through direct contact with infectious body fluids or with the rash, scabs and sores that the disease can cause. Spread can also happen through indirect contact, such as through clothing or bedding contaminated with the virus.

It can also spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash on the skin that can look like pimples or blisters.

The rash goes through different stages, developing into pustules before healing.

US monkeypox testing ramps up

In the United States, efforts are underway to ramp up testing for the virus.

The commercial laboratory company Labcorp will begin monkeypox testing Wednesday at its largest facility in the United States, doubling the nation’s capacity to test for the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC announced Wednesday that Labcorp will be able to accept specimens for testing from anywhere in the United States, and the company expects to perform up to 10,000 tests per week.

The outbreak has led to 560 probable or confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Tuesday evening. Cases have been reported in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Three of the cases were non-U.S. residents.

“The ability of commercial labs to test for monkeypox is a key pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday. “This will not only increase testing capacity but will make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-lab relationships.”

If someone thinks they could have a monkeypox infection, a provider will have to order a test. “The public will not be able to go to a Labcorp lab and submit a specimen,” the CDC said in its statement.

The CDC’s Laboratory Response Network has been conducting most of the monkeypox-specific testing in the U.S., but on June 22, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that monkeypox testing would expand to five commercial labs: Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday that it had shipped tests to the labs and that their employees have been trained on how to administer the tests. “CDC anticipates additional commercial laboratories will come online and monkeypox testing capacity will continue to increase throughout the month of July.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Primary Children's Hospital announced Monday about 50 elective, prescheduled surgeries will be dela...
Emily Ashcraft

Primary Children’s expands NICU care using telehealth, keeps infants closer to home

Telehealth is allowing Primary Children's Hospital's Neuro-NICU to reach infants at other hospitals, allowing them to stay close to their parents and support system while getting the care they need.
1 day ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan. Here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved selling overdose antidote naloxone over-the-counter, marking the first time an opioid treatment drug will be available without a prescription.
1 day ago
Karah Brackin

New CDC study shows Utah kids are not getting enough fruits and vegetables

A new study published by the CDC in February shows most kids in Utah are not getting the recommended nutrition.
2 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Why bipolar episodes tend to rise in the spring

The change of seasons can be really hard for people who struggle with their mental health. Winter months can lead to more depression, and the shift to spring can lead to more bipolar episodes.
3 days ago
Almost two months after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in the town of East Palestine...
Brenda Goodman

Government to step up efforts to monitor health of East Palestine residents, first responders

Almost two months after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in the town of East Palestine, Ohio, the state Department of Health is preparing to offer blood and urine testing and physical exams to first responders who rushed to fight the blaze.
3 days ago
Lamont Dorrity...
Ayanna Likens

How exercise helps with Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's disease is affecting more and more people across the nation. While there is no cure, one thing is showing promise in improving symptoms.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
WHO to consider again whether monkeypox outbreak is public health emergency of international concern