Europe ‘epicentre’ of monkeypox outbreak

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Wednesday Europe remained the epicentre of the global monkeypox outbreak, which posed a “real risk” with more than 1,500 cases reported in the region.

The UN health body already announced on Tuesday that it would hold an emergency meeting next week to determine whether to classify the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. “Europe remains the epicentre of this escalating outbreak with 25 countries reporting more than 1,500 cases, or 85% of the global total,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told a press conference Wednesday.

WHO’s European region comprises 53 countries, including several in Central Asia. “The agnitude of this outbreak poses a real risk. The longer the virus circulates, the more it will extend its reach, and the stronger the disease’s foothold will get in non-endemic countries,” Kluge said.Until the past few months, monkeypox had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa.