WHO monkeypox emergency committee to reconvene due to ‘evolving situation’ | Fortune


The World Health Organization will reconvene an emergency committee on monkeypox “as soon as possible” due to the “evolving situation,” Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday—after the organization declared Saturday that the virus isn’t an international public health emergency “at present.”

Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the committee on Saturday acknowledged the situation should be “closely monitored,” and the decision not to declare an emergency be “reviewed after a few weeks,” noting the global outbreak’s “emergency nature” and the “intense response efforts” required to control it.

One or more of the following conditions should trigger a reassessment, they said:

– Evidence of an increased growth rate in cases in the next three weeks.
– Cases identified among sex workers.
– An increase in cases in vulnerable groups like immunosuppressed individuals, those with poorly controlled HIV infection, pregnant women, and children.
– An increase in morbidity or mortality and hospitalization rates.
– Evidence of reentry into the animal population.
– Evidence of significant mutation affecting how the disease presents itself.
– Evidence of clusters of cases of different clades with more significant virulence detected outside of West and Central Africa.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Fortune on Wednesday he was glad to hear the committee would reconvene.

“The situation is only getting worse, and they really need to jump on this quickly,” he said via text.

The news comes less than 24 hours after the White House announced the first phase of its national monkeypox vaccine strategy, saying it would release tens of thousands of doses “immediately” from the Strategic National Stockpile—with millions more on their way the coming weeks and months.

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