The United Nations health agency declares monkeypox a global emergency

LONDON (AP) – The World Health Organization says the expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that now qualifies as a global emergency.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the decision to issue the declaration on Saturday after WHO’s emergency committee did not reach a consensus.

Monkeypox has been established in parts of central and west Africa for decades. It wasn’t known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities detected epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries.