More than 50,000 cases of monkeypox have been recorded since the start in May of an outbreak that mainly affected North America and Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
According to the organization’s dashboard that lists all confirmed cases, there were 50,496 cases and 16 deaths as of August 31. In the United States as in Europe, the number of infections seems to be slowing down.
“These signs confirm what we have said over and over again from the beginning: with the right measures, this outbreak can be stopped,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
Downward trend in several countries
He noted that several countries in the Americas were still seeing an increase in the number of cases, but he was pleased “to see a continued downward trend in Canada.” US health authorities also reported a slight slowdown on Wednesday.
In Europe, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted the good results obtained in Germany and the Netherlands. Outside of Africa, where the disease is endemic in several countries, the disease mainly affects men who have sex with men.
To eliminate the circulation of the virus, the WHO recommends maintaining surveillance measures, targeted vaccination, identification of cases of contact and engagement with men who have sex with men, recommending in particular limiting the number of sexual partners.
“We don’t have to live with monkeypox”
Monkeypox is not currently considered a sexually transmitted disease and anyone can get it. Direct skin-to-skin contact, but also infected sheets or clothing are vectors of disease transmission.
The WHO also strongly emphasizes the need to avoid any stigmatization of a specific community, which could lead its members to hide the disease, not seek treatment and continue to spread it.
The WHO had triggered its highest alert level on July 24 to try to prevent the epidemic from gaining further momentum and settling permanently. “We don’t have to live with monkeypox,” if we take the right steps, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Source: BFM TV