Monkeypox has been declared as a global public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It is the highest alert that WHO can issue and follows a global surge in the number of cases of the virus.
There has been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox reported to the WHO from 75 countries, and five deaths, said WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Previously declared global health emergencies are Covid-19, Ebola, and Zika.
Dr Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Saturday that the emergency committee had been unable to reach a consensus on whether the monkeypox outbreak should be classified as a global health emergency.
However, because the outbreak had spread around the world rapidly and he had decided that it was a case for international concern.
He added that the risk globally is “moderate”, except in Europe where it is classed as high “high”.
The declaration from WHO could lead to investment in treating the illness and vaccine sharing.
As of July 20, 2,162 cases of monkeypox were confirmed in the UK – including 54 cases in Scotland.
On Friday, Public Health Scotland announced that the wider pre-exposure programme has started in some areas of Scotland, with vaccination being offered to some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure and a small number of healthcare workers who work in high-risk settings.
Currently most cases in Scotland are in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men, and are primarily associated with recent travel to London or Europe.