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WHO maintains int’l public health emergency alert for mpox

The World Health Organization's emergency committee on Wednesday maintained a Public Health Emergency Of International Concern (PHEIC), its highest level of alert, for mpox, saying that transmission continued to persist in some countries.

Formerly called monkeypox, the disease was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the spread among humans since then mainly limited to certain West and Central African countries where it is endemic.

But in May 2022, cases of the disease, which causes fever, muscular aches and large boil-like skin lesions, began spreading rapidly around the world, mainly among men who have sex with men.

Monkeypox received its name because the virus was originally identified in monkeys kept for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease is found in a number of animals, and most frequently in rodents.

Last November, the WHO announced the renaming of the disease to mpox, in a bid to avoid stigmatization of the sufferers. — Reuters