Director-General of the WHO (World Health Organization), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said this Wednesday (29) that monkeypox should not be minimized, although, in a recent meeting, the Emergency Committee of the entity did not advise that it represents a public health emergency of international concern. In this context, he informed that a new meeting of this committee will be called “quickly” to reassess the situation.
According to Ghebreyesus, experts on the committee stressed that the emergency nature of the health event surrounding this disease “requires intense response efforts.”
The director-general also recalled that the committee itself requested that a new meeting of the entity be called soon to analyze the situation of monkeypox, which has changed.
Groups of risk
The organization said it was concerned that monkeypox could spread to high-risk groups, after noting there was “sustained transmission of the virus”.
“This could indicate that the virus is taking hold and can pass to high-risk groups such as children, pregnant women or immunosuppressed people,” said the director-general.
He revealed that he began to see “that several children were infected”.
The WHO said all those under 17 fall into this category and that of the reported cases – two from the UK and others yet to be confirmed in Spain and France – none were serious.
“However, it is an age group that really concerns us, even if they are mild [os casos]so we have to do everything possible to control this outbreak through existing health measures,” he said.
The latest notifications received by the WHO raised to 3,413 cases of monkeypox in 50 non-endemic countries for this disease, which has been present in central and western Africa in recent decades.
The entity decided last weekend that the current outbreak of the disease does not currently constitute a health emergency of international scope, as is the case with Covid-19, after receiving a recommendation in this regard from the scientists of its Emergency Committee.
This recommendation, however, was not initially unanimous, as three scientists who were members of that instance considered that the conditions for declaring an emergency were met.
Eleven members expressed a contrary opinion and the recommendation was finally adopted by consensus, although experts asked the WHO director that, as soon as additional information about this outbreak becomes available, he will issue a new call to assess the situation.
The authority also spoke about the situation of Covid-19, considering that the pandemic “improved, but it is not over”.
The WHO again called for an advance in vaccination around the world, especially in the poorest countries, with an initial focus on risk groups, such as health professionals and the elderly.
The statement was made during a press conference.