CNBC – The World Health Organization on Friday warned that urgent action is needed to contain the spread of monkeypox in Europe, as cases have tripled over the past two weeks.
Europe is the center of a global outbreak of the virus with 90% of confirmed monkeypox cases reported there, according to the WHO. New infections have tripled since June 15 with 4,500 confirmed cases across 31 European nations.
Henri Kluge, the head of WHO Europe, called on governments to ramp efforts to prevent monkeypox from establishing itself on the continent, warning that time is of the essence.
WHO blames everyone but the people actually spreading the monkeypox: “The stigmatization of men who have sex with men in some countries has made it difficult to get a full picture of the outbreak.” – Henri Kluge, WHO Europe
“Urgent and coordinated action is imperative if we are to turn a corner in the race to reverse the ongoing spread of this disease,” Kluge said.
The World Health Organization on Saturday declined to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, its highest alert level. However, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said monkeypox is an evolving health threat.
Tedros called on governments to step up surveillance, contact tracing and to make sure people at high risk have access to vaccines and antivirals.
Kluge said the WHO will likely reconsider whether monkeypox is global health emergency soon, given the “rapid evolution and emergency nature of the event.”
He said 99% of monkeypox patients in Europe are men between the ages of 21 and 40. The majority of the patients who provided demographic information identified as men who have sex with men, he said.
Monkeypox primarily spreads through close physical contact with much of the transmission in the current outbreak happening through sex.
However, small numbers of cases have now been reported in which the patients did not catch the virus during sexual contact, Kluge said.
Family members of infected individuals, heterosexual contacts as well as children have also caught the virus, he said …