The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that monkeypox is no longer a global health emergency. This comes almost a year after the disease started spreading across the world. WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced this decision in an online press conference. He said that he was pleased to accept the advice of the UN agency’s emergency committee on monkeypox to lift its highest level of alarm. The WHO had declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in July.
Although the number of people infected with monkeypox has consistently fallen since then, there have been over 87,000 cases and 140 deaths reported from 111 countries during the global outbreak. Almost 90% fewer cases were recorded over the last three months compared to the previous three-month period. However, Tedros cautioned that monkeypox continues to pose significant public health challenges that need a robust, proactive, and sustainable response. He called on countries to remain vigilant and to continue their efforts in fighting the disease.
Monkeypox causes fever, muscular aches, and large boil-like skin lesions. It has been long present in parts of Central and West Africa, but in May last year, cases of monkeypox started emerging in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, mostly among men who have sex with men. Although the virus continues to affect communities in all regions, including in Africa, where transmission is still not well understood, the WHO has lifted its highest level of alarm for monkeypox.
After the status was lifted for both Covid-19 and monkeypox, there is now just one WHO-declared PHEIC—for poliovirus, which was declared in May 2014.