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WHO authorities for Europe urged governments and the public to intensify "efforts in the coming weeks and months to prevent monkeypox from becoming established in a growing geographical area".
The World Health Organization's (WHO) regional director for Europe, Hans Henri P. Kluge, revealed Friday that monkeypox cases have tripled on the continent in the past two weeks with more than 4,500 infections reported.
So far, positive laboratory tests indicate that 31 countries have reported cases, which "represents almost 90 percent" of those confirmed since last May internationally.
Most of the diagnosed patients are between 21 and 40 years of age, and 99 percent are male. In addition, "small numbers of cases have been reported among household members, heterosexual contacts and non-sexual contacts, as well as among children," the official said.
Kluge also detailed that at least ten patients have been hospitalized for treatment, one person has been admitted to intensive care, and no deaths have been reported. Those confirmed have presented symptoms such as rash, fever, digestive problems and muscular, throat or headaches.
The WHO representative urged governments and the public to intensify "efforts in the coming weeks and months to prevent monkeypox from becoming established in a growing geographical area".
He also stressed that countries in the area "must rapidly expand monkeypox surveillance," disseminate understandable messages to communities, and spare no effort to make "robust public health investments" in line with political commitments.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that has spread rapidly through Western Europe. It was first identified in humans in the 1970s, and is considered to be of lower risk than smallpox.