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What if we told you that a disease, which had the world in a nervous grip just a year ago, is now no longer a global health emergency? Yes, we're talking about mpox, formerly known as monkeypox. The World Health Organization (WHO) made this announcement on Thursday.
Dropping case numbers bring hope
But why this sudden cause for celebration? It's all in the numbers. WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, informed us that this welcome shift was driven by a significant drop in case numbers across the globe.
However, we should remember, mpox is still a threat, especially in parts of Africa where the disease has been endemic for a long time.
"While the emergencies of mpox and Covid-19 are both over, the threat of resurgent waves remains for both. Both viruses continue to circulate and both continue to kill", WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The journey of mpox
For decades, countries in Central and West Africa have been dealing with local outbreaks. But in May last year, mpox cases began emerging in other parts of the world.
By July, the WHO had declared mpox a PHEIC, A public health emergency of international concern. Since then, the number of people infected with the disease – known for its fever, muscular aches, and large boil-like skin lesions – has been on a steady decline.
The numbers tell a story
More than 87,000 cases and 140 deaths have been reported from 111 countries during the global outbreak. The countries most impacted by the outbreak include the United States, Brazil, Spain, France, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the UK.
Almost 90% fewer cases were recorded in the last three months compared to the previous three-month period.
"We now see steady progress in controlling the outbreak based on the lessons of HIV and working closely with the most affected communities," noted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
News tips: Thomas Ahlström