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 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.
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.
The WHO is also issuing recommendations which it hopes will spur countries to take action to stop transmission of the virus and protect those most at risk.