The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a global health emergency.
The categorization is the highest alert issued by the WHO and is due to a worldwide increase in cases.
According to foreign media reports, the development came following the second meeting of the WHOs emergency committee on monkeypox.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that in excess of 16,000 cases had been reported in 75 countries, with five deaths.
Dr. Tedros said that though the emergency committee had been unable to reach a consensus on whether the monkeypox outbreak was a global health emergency, he had decided that it was of international concern as the outbreak had spread rapidly around the world.
He said that the virus was spreading through new modes of transmission regarding which they did not have much understanding, due to which it had spread.
Dr. Tedros said that the assessment of WHO was that monkeypox posed a moderate risk globally, except the European region, where the risk was high according to their assessment.
The WHO director general added that there was a risk of monkeypox spreading internationally.
Dr. Tedros added that the alert would aid in the speedy development of vaccines and the implementation of measures that could limit the spread.
The global health organization will also issue recommendations to push countries into action to halt the transmission of the virus and protect those at risk.
Dr. Tedros stated that the outbreak could be stopped with the right strategies.
The monkeypox virus was first discovered in central Africa in the 1950s.
Although designation of a virus as a global emergency is WHOs highest level of alert, it does not necessarily indicate that a virus is highly transmissible or lethal.