The European regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) has observed “encouraging early signs” of a slowdown in the monkeypox epidemic in Europe but warns that not enough has been done so far to halt the spread of the virus.
“There are encouraging early signs, as evidenced in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and other countries, that the outbreak may be slowing,” WHO Director for Europe Hans Kluge said on Tuesday at a press briefing on the epidemiological situation.
However, he added, “to move towards elimination in our region, we need to urgently step up our efforts.”
According to Mr. Kluge, the transmission of the virus between human beings can be stopped.
In Europe, some 22,000 monkeypox infections have been diagnosed in 43 countries, “representing more than a third of the global tally,” said the Belgian UN official.
WHO Europe this week published several recommendations on keeping the monkeypox epidemic under control and on the use of vaccines. All countries, whether they have cases or not, should implement a series of measures, Kluge urged.
The current epidemic mainly concerns men who have sex with other men, often with different partners. This is where prevention and response efforts must be focused, with the active cooperation and participation of the community itself, the regional director stressed.