Monkeypox: 95% of cases are from America, Europe, says WHO chief


Ninety-five per cent of all monkeypox cases in the world have been reported from the Americas and Europe, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva Wednesday.

WHO data shows that over 18,000 monkeypox cases have been reported from 78 countries, with more than 70 per cent of these from Europe and 25 per cent from the Americas.

Ghebreyesus said 98 per cent of the reported cases have been among men who have sex with men, stressing that stigma and discrimination can be “as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the outbreak.”

He said during the weekly press conference, “For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed.”

Ghebreyesus called upon social media platforms, tech platforms and news organizations to work with WHO to “prevent and counter harmful information.”

On July 23, the WHO officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). A PHEIC is the highest level of alert that the United Nations (UN) health body can give.

The WHO has been urging countries to take the monkeypox outbreak seriously by taking the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups. “The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure and make safe choices,” Ghebreyesus said.

Meanwhile, the US, Canada and the European Union have approved a vaccine called MVA-BN (Modified Vaccinia Ankara – Bavarian Nordic) for use against monkeypox, and two other vaccines are also being assessed. However, due to the lack of data on the effectiveness and dosage of the vaccines, the WHO currently does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox.