The World Health Organization was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox, a viral infection more common in West and Central Africa, after more than 100 cases were confirmed or suspected in Europe.

In what Germany described as the largest outbreak in Europe ever, cases have been reported in at least eight European countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK – as well as the US, Canada and Australia. .

First detected in monkeys, the disease usually spreads through close contact and has rarely spread beyond Africa, so this series of cases has caused concern.

However, scientists do not expect the outbreak to turn into a pandemic like COVID-19, given that the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2.

Monkeypox is usually a mild viral disease characterized by symptoms of fever as well as a characteristic tubercle tubercle.

“With several confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, this is the largest and most widespread outbreak of monkeys ever seen in Europe,” said the medical service of the German Armed Forces, which found the first case in the country on Friday.

The Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to meet – the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential (STAG-IH), which provides advice on the risks of infection that may pose a threat to global health.

He will not be responsible for deciding whether to declare an outbreak of a public health emergency of international concern, the highest form of WHO alert currently applicable to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Fabian Leenderz of the Robert Koch Institute described the epidemic as an epidemic.

“However, it is very unlikely that this epidemic will last long. Cases can be well isolated by contact tracking, and there are medications and effective vaccines that can be used as needed, ”he said.

However, the European head of the WHO said he was concerned that the infection in the region could accelerate if people gather for parties and festivals in the summer months.

A special vaccine against monkeypox does not exist, but data show that vaccines used to eliminate smallpox are up to 85% effective against monkeypox, according to the WHO.

British authorities said Thursday that they have offered a smallpox vaccine to some health workers and others who may have been exposed to monkeypox.

Since 1970, cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries. Nigeria has had a major outbreak since 2017 – so far this year there have been 46 suspicious cases, 15 of which have since been confirmed, according to the WHO.

The first European case was confirmed on May 7 in a man who returned to England from Nigeria.

Since then, more than 100 cases have been confirmed outside of Africa, according to a tracker by an Oxford University academic.

Many of the cases are not related to trips to the continent. As a result, the cause of the outbreak is unclear, although health authorities have said there is potentially some degree of prevalence in society.


The WHO said the first cases were unusual for three reasons: all but one do not have a relevant travel history to areas where monkeypox is endemic; most are detected through sexual health services and among men who have sex with men, and the wide geographical distribution across Europe and beyond suggests that transmission may continue for some time.

In Britain, where 20 cases have now been confirmed, the UK Health Agency said the latest cases in the country were predominantly among men who identified themselves as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.

14 cases in Portugal were detected in sexual health clinics and were men aged 20 to 40 who identified themselves as gay, bisexual or men who had sex with men.

Spanish health authorities said 23 new cases were confirmed on Friday, mostly in the Madrid region, where most infections were linked to an outbreak in an adult sauna.

It is too early to say whether the disease has turned into a sexually transmitted disease, said Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner of the Lazio region in Italy. So far, three cases have been registered in the country.

Sexual contact, by definition, is close contact, added Stuart Neal, a professor of virology at Kings College London.

“The idea that there is some kind of sexual transmission in this, I think, is a bit tense,” he said.

Scientists have sequenced the virus from various cases to see if they are related, the WHO said. The agency is expected to provide an update soon.

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