The World Health Organization (WHO) will convene a meeting of experts on Thursday to determine whether the spread of monkeypox should be considered a “public health emergency of international concern”.
This dozen independent scientists will examine whether the world should be warned about a growing health threat. The results of those deliberations are not expected until Friday.
The designation of a global health emergency has no immediate practical consequences, other than to make governments and the public more vigilant. The WHO declared the novel coronavirus a global public health emergency on January 30, 2020.
While monkeypox has been circulating in Africa for years, it has caused an international stir with its recent appearance in several countries where it had never been seen before. The disease spreads through physical contact. According to medical authorities, the epidemic seems to be concentrated among men who have had sexual contact with several other men. Although the disease can be fatal, it can be treated and it is generally survived, with however a phase of significant cutaneous flare-ups.