WHO calls for ‘urgent’ action in Europe against monkey pox

A doctor shows a positive result of the Monkeypox test on a computer screen.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez, Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Friday called for “urgent” action to prevent the spread of monkeypox in Europe, noting that cases there had tripled in the past two weeks.

“Today I am reinforcing my call on governments and civil society to scale up their efforts…to prevent monkeypox from settling in a growing geographic area,” said Hans Henri Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

“Urgent and coordinated action is necessary if we are to turn a corner in the race to reverse the ongoing spread of this disease.”

Since early May, an increase in monkey pox cases has been detected outside of West and Central African countries where the viral disease is endemic.

Ninety percent of all laboratory-confirmed cases recorded worldwide — or 4,500 infections — are in Europe, Kluge said.

So far, 31 countries and territories have reported infections.

Kluge said Europe remains at the center of the growing outbreak and the risk remains high.

The WHO does not think the outbreak currently constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, but will review its position soon, it said.

Most monkeypox infections to date have been seen in men who have sex with men, from a young age, mainly in urban areas, the WHO said.

It investigates cases of possible sexual transmission, but states that the disease is mainly spread through close contact.

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