While there are now 14,500 cases of monkeypox in 70 countries, the World Health Organization is meeting this Thursday to determine the severity of the extent of the disease. This Emergency Committee will be responsible for evaluating the epidemiological indicators
“Regardless of the Committee’s recommendation, WHO will continue to do everything possible to stop monkeypox and save lives,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the UN agency, at a press conference on Wednesday. At a first meeting on June 23, the majority of experts recommended that Dr. Tedros not declare a public health emergency of international concern.
France among the most affected countries in Europe
As of July 18, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CEDC) recorded 7,896 infections with the monkeypox virus. Spain is the most affected, with 2,835 cases, followed by Germany (1,924), France (1,450), the Netherlands (656) and Portugal (515), the majority of cases concerning “groups of ‘men who have sex with men aged 18-50’.
Outside of Africa, “99% of cases are men,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s leading expert on monkeypox, on Wednesday, and 98% of them are “men who have sex with men, primarily those who have multiple recent, new or anonymous partners.”
Vaccines still too rare
“Even though we are seeing a downward trend in some countries, others are still facing an increase, and 6 countries reported their first cases last week,” Dr. Tedros said. “Some of these countries have much less access to diagnostics and vaccines, which makes the outbreak more difficult to trace and stop,” while vaccine stocks are scarce, he added.
The Danish company Bavarian Nordic, the only laboratory producing an authorized vaccine against monkeypox, announced on Tuesday that it had received an order for 1.5 million doses, most of which will be delivered in 2023, from a European country whose name is n did not filter, while the United States ordered 2.5 million doses.