WHO calls for 'urgent' action in Europe over monkeypox after cases triple

Monkeypox cases have tripled in Europe over the past two weeks. PHOTO: REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (AFP, REUTERS) - The Word Health Organisation (WHO) called on Friday (July 1) for "urgent" action to prevent the spread of monkeypox in Europe, noting that cases had tripled there over the past two weeks.

"Today, I am intensifying my call for governments and civil society to scale up efforts in the coming weeks and months to prevent monkeypox from establishing itself across a growing geographical area," the WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri Kluge, said.

"Urgent and coordinated action is imperative if we are to turn a corner in the race to reverse the ongoing spread of this disease," he added.

Meanwhile, the United States government has ordered 2.5 million more doses of Bavarian Nordic's vaccine for use against monkeypox outbreaks, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Friday.

The shot has already been cleared for both smallpox and monkeypox in the US, where it is called Jynneos.

The US government is ramping up its efforts to fight monkeypox by sending hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses to states in the coming months, expanding access for those most at risk and increasing supply to areas with high case numbers.

Globally, there have been more than 3,400 cases of monkeypox and one death since the outbreak began in May, according to a WHO tally.

Bavarian Nordic said the total US inventory of the vaccine would reach about 4.4 million doses when combined with a 2020 order for 1.4 million doses.

"This order of additional Jynneos vaccine will help us push out more vaccine quickly, knowing that we have more doses on the way in the coming months," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said.

Deliveries under the latest contract will start in the fourth quarter of 2022 and continue through early 2023, the company said.

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