WHO believes monkeypox can be ‘eliminated’ in Europe after ‘first signs of slowing down’

The regional director of the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Henri P. Kluge, has pointed out that one can “end up eliminating the monkey pox» in Europe, after the “first signs of a slowdown in the outbreak”.

“It was in our region that the first cases of this outbreak emerged, where we are seeing the first signs of outbreak slowdown, and where we believe we can end up eliminating monkeypox if we commit to doing so. This political goal is a clear message to everyone about what we believe the ultimate goal is,” Kluge said in a statement.

WHO Europe has launched a series of reports on monkeypox for the WHO European Region, which covers 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia. The reports will support Member States that are already responding directly to the outbreak, and help prepare those that have not yet reported cases.

The first report in this series, entitled ‘Considerations for the control and elimination of monkeypox in the WHO European Region’, has been produced in collaboration with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC, for its acronym in English). The document offers a set of general recommendations on how to control the outbreak and ultimately achieve and sustain monkeypox elimination from the region. “No intervention by itself will achieve this goal: success will depend on the application of multiple interventions combined”, collects the text.

‘The goal is to build on the early response to monkeypox in Europe, with the clear overall goal of eliminate sustained person-to-person transmission in the Region«, commented Dr. Catherine Smallwood, senior emergency officer at WHO Europe and responsible for the monkeypox outbreak.

For her part, the director of the ECDC, Andrea Ammon, has pointed out that these reports “outline the ways in which we can begin to control the monkeypox infection in Europe.”

“These steps include, among others, the isolation of cases, the appropriate use of therapeutics and vaccines, as well as engagement with affected communities, which can ensure that public health information is communicated quickly and effectively. We underline that multiple steps and approaches must be applied simultaneously to ensure impact. Indicators are also proposed to monitor the progress of countries towards this goal », he detailed.

The second document in the series, entitled “Policy Brief on Vaccination Against Monkeypox in the WHO European Region”, will be of particular interest to managers of national immunization programmes. The text offers a reference for the planning of the vaccination programs against monkeypox, especially in the context of limited vaccine supplies and the need to generate evidence on their use.

“It not only contains descriptions of the available vaccines, but also brings together recommendations on vaccines from the WHO and other international organizations, summaries of vaccination strategies already applied by European countries, and guidance on the decision-making process,” he explained. Siddhartha Sankar Datta, Regional Advisor on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization for WHO Europe.


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