WHO declares end of mpox emergency, calls for sustained efforts for long-term management of the disease

MPOX Virus

May 11, 2023- The Emergency Committee on monkeypox (mpox) met yesterday and advised that the multi-country outbreak is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), given the sustained decline in cases. The WHO Director-General accepted the Committee’s advice.

The Committee noted a significant decline in the number of reported cases compared to the previous reporting period and no changes in the severity and clinical manifestation of the disease. The Committee acknowledged remaining uncertainties about the disease, regarding modes of transmission in some countries, poor quality of some reported data, and continued lack of effective countermeasures in the African countries, where mpox occurs regularly. The Committee considered, however, that these are long-term challenges that would be better addressed through sustained efforts in a transition towards a long-term strategy to manage the public health risks posed by mpox, rather than the emergency measures inherent to a public health emergency of international concern.

The Committee emphasised the necessity for long-term partnerships to mobilize the needed financial and technical support for sustaining surveillance, control measures and research for the long-term elimination of human-to-human transmission, as well as mitigation of zoonotic transmissions, where possible. Integration of mpox prevention, preparedness and response within national surveillance and control programmes, including for HIV and other sexually transmissible infections, was reiterated as an important element of this longer-term transition. In particular, the Committee noted that the gains in control of the multi-country outbreak of mpox have been achieved largely in the absence of outside funding support and that longer-term control and elimination are unlikely unless such support is provided. These sustained investments will, in the long run, save money and lives, and reduce the risk of a global resurgence of mpox, as well as the risk of reverse zoonosis resulting in new areas where the virus may circulate.

The WHO Director-General expresses his gratitude to the Chair, Members, and Advisors for their advice and concurs with this advice that the event no longer constitutes a PHEIC for the reasons detailed in the proceedings of the meeting below and issues revised Temporary Recommendations for the transition period, which are presented at the end of this document.