The term Public Health Emergency of International Concern is defined in the International Health Regulations (2005) as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations, to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and to potentially require a coordinated international response.” In 2014, the international spread of poliovirus was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations [IHR 2005].
The International Health Regulations (2005), or IHR (2005), represents a binding international legal agreement involving 196 countries across the globe, including all the Member States of World Health Organization. Their aim is to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. The purpose and scope of the IHR (2005) is to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
On 5 May 2014, the WHO Director-General declared the international spread of poliovirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations [IHR 2005], and issued Temporary Recommendations to reduce the international spread of poliovirus, as well as a reassessment of the situation by the Emergency Committee every 3 months.
The twenty-third meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) was convened by the Director General on 11 December 2019 at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters with members, advisers and invited Member States attending via teleconference, with support from the WHO secretariat. The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (cVDPV) and the Secretariat presented a report of progress for affected IHR States Parties subject to Temporary Recommendations.