“No room for complacency” as infections triple in just two weeks
A bucket with suspected monkeypox samples at the microbiology laboratory of La Paz Hospital, June 22, 2022, Madrid, Spain. © Getty Images / Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Stringer
Monkeypox cases have tripled in Europe over the past two weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed on Friday, warning that “urgent and coordinated action” is required.
According to the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, monkeypox cases have been reported in six new countries and areas since mid-June, taking the total to 31. During the same period, the number of new cases in the region has tripled to 4,500.
The International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee will soon revise its evaluation of the outbreak’s significance, Kluge revealed. The current position of the committee is that the outbreak “does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern.”
“There is simply no room for complacency – especially right here in the European region with its fast-moving outbreak that with every hour, day and week is extending its reach into previously unaffected areas,” the regional director said.
Kluge outlined a set of measures that should be taken by governments to address the issue. First of all, he said, “countries must quickly scale up surveillance for monkeypox, including sequencing, and obtain the capacity to diagnose and respond to the disease.” The WHO official also stressed the need for “sound public health investments,” as well as transparency in policies, and communication of the “right messages” for the public.