Even if cases are no longer growing at the rate of recent months, the monkeypox epidemic continues to meet the criteria for being considered an international health emergency. This is what the WHO Emergency Committee decided with two votes against. The body met on October 20, but the WHO communicated its decision only yesterday.
“Overall, the conditions that warranted the determination of the ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ persist, as the monkeypox outbreak continues to constitute an extraordinary event posing a risk to public health due to international spread” , WHO wrote in a statement.
The trend of the epidemic, however, presents marked differences between high-income and low-income countries. In the former, WHO explains, a sharp drop in infections has been observed, but to date, it is not clear whether it was “the adoption of safer sexual behavior among populations at higher risk; the seasonal reduction of large gatherings […]; increasing pre- and post-exposure vaccination rates; the possible increase in immunity following infection among populations at the highest risk”. On the contrary, in low-income countries, in addition to the reduced possibility of access to diagnostic tools, vaccine pharmacies, the strong lack of data is worrying: in some areas of Africa, for example, it is currently difficult to determine whether the infections are of animal origin or whether they are human-to-human transmission.For these reasons too, WHO has currently preferred to adopt a cautious attitude, motivated by the “concern about the potential negative consequences that would result from the withdrawal of the emergency declaration at this time”, it reads. deaths.