Media statement in response to the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for Monkeypox

Dr Josie Golding, Head of Epidemics and Epidemiology at Wellcome, responds to the WHO declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern for Monkeypox.

“Our world is growing increasingly vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease. The declaration of another Public Health Emergency of International Concern should serve as a stark reminder to world leaders of this modern reality, and the weaknesses in our collective ability to prepare and respond. 

“With Monkeypox cases continuing to rise and spread to more countries, we now face a dual challenge: an endemic disease in Africa that has been neglected for decades, and a novel outbreak affecting marginalised communities. Governments must take this more seriously and work together internationally to bring this outbreak under control.

“Tried and tested public health measures including strengthened disease surveillance, contact tracing and equitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines for those most at risk is crucial. But governments must also support more research to understand why we are seeing new patterns of transmission, evaluate the effectiveness of our current tools and support the development of improved interventions.  

“Without this swift and concentrated action, Monkeypox will continue to infect even more people unnecessarily and become established in more populations, including the risk of reverse spillover into animals. We cannot afford to keep waiting for diseases to escalate before we intervene.”