GENEVA - The World Health Organization’s chief said Sunday that the monkeypox outbreak was a deeply concerning evolving threat but did not currently amount to a global public health emergency.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus convened a committee of experts on Thursday to decide whether to sound the UN health agency’s strongest alarm over the outbreak, which has mainly affected western Europe.

A surge of monkeypox cases has been detected since early May outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic. Most of the new cases have been in Western Europe. More than 3,200 confirmed cases and one death have now been reported to the WHO from more than 50 countries in total this year. “The emergency committee shared serious concerns about the scale and speed of the current outbreak,” noting many unknowns about the spread and gaps in the data, Tedros said after considering their report, which he said represented a consensus position between the committee members’ differing views.

“Overall, in the report, they advised me that at this moment the event does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), which is the highest level of alert WHO can issue, but recognised that the convening of the committee itself reflects the increasing concern about the international spread of monkeypox.”