The World Health Organization has called for “urgent and coordinated” action to control a rising monkey flu outbreak in Europe.
Since early May, infections have increased in areas outside West and Central Africa, where the virus has spread.
Hans Kluk, the World Health Organization’s director for Europe, expressed concern that cases had tripled in the past two weeks, with more than 4,500 infections recorded.
The World Health Organization recently said that monkeypox is no longer considered a global health emergency, but plans to review its status.
31 countries have been affected by the monkey flu. Most cases were reported by men who had sex with other men, but some children also had it.
“Today I am intensifying my call to governments and civil society to intensify efforts to prevent malaria from establishing itself in a growing geographic area,” said the WHO Regional Director for Europe.
“Urgent and concerted action is necessary if we want … to reverse the continued spread of this disease,” he added, according to AFP news agency.
He warned that Europe was still at the center of the outbreak and that the risk was high.
He stressed that 90 percent of laboratory-confirmed infections worldwide were recorded in Europe.
According to data released by the European Center for Disease Control, Britain records the highest number of infections (1076), followed by Germany (838), Spain (736), Portugal (365) and France (350).
The Danish laboratory “Bavarian Nordic” – the only laboratory licensed to manufacture the monkeypox vaccine – announced that it would ship 2.5 million doses to the United States.
As part of a major push for the country’s immunization strategy, US health officials said on Tuesday they were immediately sending 56,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine – five times the number distributed so far – to areas where the disease is endemic.
On Tuesday, the European Medicines Agency announced it would begin a review of the smallpox vaccine to expand its use against monkeypox.
Before the monkey was exterminated in 1980, it was associated with smallpox, which killed millions of people around the world annually, but its symptoms were much less severe.
The disease starts with a fever and quickly progresses to a rash. Symptoms are usually mild and disappear on their own after two to three weeks.
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