The monkeypox outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, the BBC reports.
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 had been five deaths so far as a result of the outbreak, he added.
There are only two other such health emergencies at present – the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing effort to eradicate polio.
“The WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region, where we assess the risk as high,” he added.
There was also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remained low for the moment, he said.
Dr Tedros said the declaration would help speed up the development of vaccines and the implementation of measures to limit the spread of the virus.