Monkeypox is similar to smallpox but less severe and less infectious too - Image Source: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The monkeypox outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

The classification is the highest alert that the WHO can issue and follows a worldwide upsurge in cases.

It came at the end of the second meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus.

More than 16,000 cases have now been reported from 75 countries, said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

There are only two other such health emergencies at present – the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing effort to eradicate polio.