The biggest pox attack is no longer an international health emergency, WHO announced

May 12, 2023: On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared an end to the international health emergency of the pox virus outbreak.

“We now witness steady progress in controlling the outbreak, which is related to the lessons of HIV and do the work closely with the most affected groups,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated during a press conference in Geneva.

“I’m pleased to declare that the pox is no longer an international health emergency,” Tedros stated.

Previously known as monkeypox, the WHO changed the name to pox last year to decrease stigma.

Mpox, a virus connected to smallpox, was previously mainly limited to Africa.

According to WHO data, the virus started rapidly worldwide last year, resulting in more than 87,000 cases and 140 deaths across 111 countries. It is the most significant known outbreak of the virus in history.

The U.S. panel says breast cancer screenings should begin at age 40 instead of 50. Bavarian Nordic, which manufactures the pox vaccine, recently warned that the international outbreak was a wake-up call about ramping up vaccine manufacturing capacity to prepare for a potential smallpox threat.

The company’s Jynneos vaccine protects against pox and smallpox.

Mpox spreads primarily by sexual contact, with gay and bisexual men at the infection of risk.

Although the virus is lethal, affected people develop lesions in sensitive parts that are very painful and can need hospitalization.

Mpox can be lethal for everyone with severely less immune systems, such as those living with HIV.

Public health authorities who dealt with the outbreak faced a tricky balance of clearly communicating vital information about how the virus spread while at the similar time not creating a backlash against vulnerable communities.

“While stigma drives concern in managing this epidemic and continues to hamper allowance to care for pox, the feared backlash against the most affected communities has significantly not materialized,” Tedros said. “For that, we are thankful,” Tedros added.

The largest pox outbreak occurred in the U.S., with over 40,000 cases and 42 deaths. In January, the Biden administration ended the public health emergency in response to pox after claims dramatically reduced the awareness of a national vaccination and general health information campaign.

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