Wire Service
2 minute read
23 Jul 2022
5:15 pm

WHO declares Monkeypox a global health emergency


WHO emergency committee held a second meeting this week to look into the Monkeypox outbreak across the world.

The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. Photo: iStock

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency – the highest alarm it can sound.

“I have decided that the global #monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

WHO’s emergency committee on the virus held a second meeting to examine the worsening situation since the virus outbreak.

Monkeypox, so called because it was first discovered in a monkey, is related to the deadly smallpox virus, which was eradicated in 1980, but is far less severe. 

In South Africa, the first case of monkeypox was recorded last month in a 30-year-old man from Johannesburg, who had no travel history.

Nearly 15 400 cases were reported from 71 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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226 monkeypox tests conducted in SA so far

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) this week, South Africa has conducted 226 monkeypox laboratory tests from individuals suspected of the disease.

Since 22 June 2022 to date, there have been three unlinked laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases in South Africa, with no deaths reported.

The cases were reported from Gauteng, Western Cape and Limpopo in men aged 30, 32 and 42 years, respectively.

From 25 May to 19 July 2022, South Africa has conducted 226 monkeypox laboratory tests (PCR) from individuals suspected of monkeypox disease within South Africa (122) and other African countries (104).

No recent international travel history was reported in either of these cases from Gauteng and Western Cape, however, the first case reported in Gauteng had close contact with an undiagnosed person with international travel history.

Globally, 13,436 laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases have been reported from 70 non-endemic countries across five WHO regions, since May 2022 and up to 19 July 2022.

The majority of the monkeypox cases have been reported from the WHO European region, with 7,896 confirmed cases reported from 27 countries as of 18 July 2022.

NOW READ: Monkeypox: From beginnings in Africa to global spread

Additional reporting by The Citizen