THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has said mpox is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Director-General of the agency, Tedros Ghebreyesus, made the declaration following a recommendation by the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) Emergency Committee at its fifth meeting on Friday, May 12.
WHO declared mpox a PHEIC in July 2022 because of escalating cases and deaths from the disease.
The agency’s latest decision on mpox came barely a week after it declared COVID-19 as no longer a PHEIC.
The Emergency Committee acknowledged the progress made in the global response to the multi-country outbreak of the disease and the further decline in reported cases since its last meeting.
It noted a significant decline in the number of reported cases compared to the previous reporting period and observed no changes in the severity and clinical manifestation of the disease.
The committee noted a sustained decline in cases globally, with almost 90 per cent fewer cases reported in the last three months, compared with the previous three months.
Responding, WHO’s Director-General, said at the meeting that the virus continued to transmit in certain communities despite a downward trend globally.
He stressed the need for countries to maintain their surveillance and response capacities and to continue to integrate mpox prevention and care into existing national health programmes to address future outbreaks.
Nigeria was among the countries that presented situations of mpox during the meeting. Others are Japan, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
“The WHO Region of Africa reported that more than 1,500 cases were confirmed since January 2022 in 13 countries, with the majority of these cases being reported from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” part of WHO’s statement from the meeting said.
The Committee expressed concerns about the persisting knowledge gaps related to mpox in Africa, the lack of access to vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic testing capacities in many low-income countries; the recurring zoonotic transmission in Africa; and the fact that not all countries are receiving the support they need or have structures or systems to respond to mpox, including inadequate support for marginalized groups.
As of May 11, there were 87,377 confirmed cases and 140 deaths from 111 countries which reported cases since January 2022.
The ten most affected countries globally are the United States of America (30,154), Brazil (10,920), Spain (7,551), France (4,146), Colombia (4,090), Mexico (4,010), Peru (3,800), the United Kingdom (3,741), Germany (3,691), and Canada (1,484). These countries account for 84.2 per cent of the cases reported worldwide.
Mpox cases by region:
Region of the Americas logged 59,292, European Region, 25,887, Africa Region, 1,587, Western Pacific Region, 477, Eastern Mediterranean Region, 88, and South-East Asia Region, 46.
Mpox deaths by region
According to WHO records, the Americas recorded 114 deaths from mpox. The European Region recorded 6, Africa Region, 18, Western Pacific Region, 0, Eastern Mediterranean Region, 1, and South-East Asia Region, 1.