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Monkeypox: More than 6,000 cases reported, prompting 2nd WHO emergency meeting

Click to play video: 'WHO director calls for increased testing, more access to vaccines and antivirals to combat monkeypox' WHO director calls for increased testing, more access to vaccines and antivirals to combat monkeypox
World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that countries need to increase surveillance through testing and ensure more access to vaccines and antivirals to combat monkeypox as the virus continues to spread. He also said he's concerned about sustained transmission as it could move into higher-risk groups, adding that some children have already been reported infected with the virus in some countries – Jun 29, 2022

More than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.

The U.N. agency will reconvene a meeting of the committee that will advise on declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert, in the week beginning July 18 or sooner, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Read more: Monkeypox cases in Europe have tripled in last 2 weeks, says WHO

At its previous meeting on June 27, the committee decided that the outbreak, which has seen cases rising both in the African countries where it usually spreads and globally, was not yet a health emergency.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

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Click to play video: 'Monkeypox: WHO considers declaring public health emergency in closed-door debate' Monkeypox: WHO considers declaring public health emergency in closed-door debate
Monkeypox: WHO considers declaring public health emergency in closed-door debate – Jun 23, 2022

Around 80 per cent of cases are in Europe, he said.

Monkeypox, a usually mild viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading worldwide since early May. The fatality rate in previous outbreaks of the strain currently spreading has been around one per cent.

In Canada, 358 monkeypox cases have been confirmed as of July 6, according to an announcement from the Public Health Agency of Canada on Wednesday.

Read more: Canada’s monkeypox cases hit 300 as numbers exceed 5,800 globally

Quebec has the highest number of cases with 236 cases, while Ontario has reported 101 cases. There are also eight confirmed cases in Alberta and 13 cases in British Columbia.

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