LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – More than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak, the World Health Organization said.

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.

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.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) speaks following his re-election during the 75th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Around 80% 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 in Africa of the strain currently spreading has been around 1%, but so far this outbreak seems to be less lethal in the non-endemic countries.

Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; Editing by Catherine Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters

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