World Health Organization yesterday said it will hold an emergency meeting next week to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

That is the highest level of warning issued by the UN health agency, which currently applies only to the COVID-19 pandemic and Polio.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, the outbreak of monkeypox is unusual and concerning. He said, so far this year, over 1,600 confirmed and almost 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox have been

reported to the WHO from 39 countries including seven where monkeypox has been detected for years, and 32 newly-affected countries.

Further, so far this year, 72 deaths have been reported from previously-affected countries. No deaths have been reported so far from the newly-affected countries, although the WHO is seeking to verify news reports from Brazil over a monkeypox-related death.

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox, although it is much less severe.

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