Monkeypox Outbreak Poses ‘Real Risk’ To Public Health, WHO Official Says

The World Health Organization’s top official in Europe on Wednesday called for urgent action by the authorities and civic groups to control fast-rising cases of monkeypox that he said posed a real risk to public health. From a report: Europe has emerged as the epicenter of an outbreak of monkeypox, with more than 1,500 cases identified in 25 European countries, which account for 85 percent of global cases, the official, Dr. Hans Kluge, the W.H.O.’s director of its European region, said at a news conference. The W.H.O. will convene its emergency committee in Geneva next week, Dr. Kluge added, to determine if the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, a formal declaration that calls for a coordinated response between countries.

“The magnitude of this outbreak poses a real risk,” Dr. Kluge said. “The longer the virus circulates, the more it will extend its reach, and the stronger the disease’s foothold will get in nonendemic countries.” Monkeypox is a viral infection endemic in West Africa, but it has now spread to 39 countries, including 32 that have no previous experience of it, the W.H.O. director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters on Tuesday. Countries outside Africa and Europe that have identified cases of monkeypox include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel and the United States.

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