From the day since the outbreak of the monkeypox virus in May, close to 12,000 cases have been logged in European Region, as per the statement shared by WHO/Europe on Tuesday.
As with the continuous spike in cases around the globe, WHO has declared global monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHIEC).
Meanwhile, WHO’s Director-General said that there was a risk of the international spread of monkeypox via new modes of transmission but added that too little is known about it.
In Belgium, the Sciensano Public Health Institute released its fresh findings for monkeypox on Wednesday, reporting that 393 people had been infected. However, Belgian experts commented that there was no reason to panic or dramatise. “It’s not a sexually transmitted disease, but you do need long and close skin contact with someone to become infected,” explained vaccinologist Pierre Van Damme.
Whereas, Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge is often more outspoken. He has mentioned in one of his statements issued on Monday that the outbreak of monkeypox surfaced in the European Region (53 nations), where most of the cases continues to be recorded, and that most cases are among men who have sex with men.
Among the 12,000 probable or confirmed cases which have been reported in the region, 8% were hospitalised with, fortunately, no deaths to date. “Solutions to tackle the outbreak must therefore also come from the region, without stigma and discrimination towards affected communities and in close partnership with them.”
From the very start of the outbreak of monkeypox, a Belgian expert took the social media to make it clear that the monkeypox virus does not discriminate against certain population groups, following homophobic reactions to the fact most cases are being detected in gay men.
“It is incredible how a virus that is spread through skin contact and that happened to be detected in some gay men is cause for homophobia and derogatory reproaches right away,” tweeted Piet Hoebeke, Urology Professor and the Dean of the Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty at the University of Ghent.
Dr Kluge laid out what is known about monkeypox and what needs to be done. Monkeypox is generally a self-limiting, non-life-threatening disease in otherwise healthy persons. The disease is better known in African countries where it has been observed over decades, and where deaths – five so far this year – have occasionally been reported, including in children and elderly persons as well as people with underlying conditions.