A “public health emergency of international concern” is WHO’s highest level of alert.
Declaring monkeypox to be a global emergency would mean the UN health agency considers the outbreak to be an “extraordinary event” and that the disease is at risk of spreading across even more borders, possibly requiring a global response.
It would also give monkeypox the same distinction as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.
Many scientists doubt that any such declaration would help to curb the epidemic, since the developed countries recording the most recent cases are already moving quickly to shut it down.
So far, 48 countries have reported cases in the current outbreak, which began in May.