WHO: cases of monkeypox triple in two weeks in Europe

Maria Cheng, The Associated Press

LONDON — The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that cases of monkeypox have tripled in the past two weeks in Europe and urged countries to do more to ensure the disease does not take hold not on the mainland.

Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s director for Europe, said in a statement that increased efforts were needed to curb the spread, although the organization did not consider it necessary to declare a health emergency. worldwide for monkeypox.

More than 5,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 51 countries around the world, according to the US Centers for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, with about 90% identified in Europe.

Data reported to the WHO shows that 99% of cases are in men – the majority of whom have had sex with other men.

However, there are now a “small number” of cases among household contacts of those affected, including children, according to Mr Kluge. Symptoms often include a rash, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting, and chills.

Scientists warn that anyone in close physical contact with someone with monkeypox or with their clothing or bedding is at risk of infection, regardless of sexual orientation.

About 10% of patients were hospitalized for treatment or to be isolated, and one person was admitted to an intensive care unit. No deaths have been reported.

In the UK, which has the largest outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa, health officials have noted that the disease spreads in « defined sexual networks of homosexuals, bisexuals or men who have sex with men”.

British health authorities said there were no signs to suggest sustained transmission beyond these groups.

The main vaccine used against monkeypox was originally developed for smallpox. The European Medicines Agency said earlier this week it was beginning to assess whether the vaccine should be authorized for monkeypox.

Some countries, including the UK, Germany and Canada, have already started vaccinating people at high risk.

Until May, monkeypox had never been known to cause major outbreaks outside of Africa, where the disease is endemic in several countries and mainly causes limited outbreaks when it spreads to people. from infected wild animals.

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