Monkeypox outbreak in Americas, Europe, Australia is “containable,” says WHO

Monkeypox outbreak in Americas, Europe, Australia is “containable,” says WHO
Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive" are seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

More than 100 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the Americas, Europe and Australia, but the WHO says that the situation is containable.

The number of people infected with monkeypox is still expected to rise in non-endemic countries (which is a fancy way of saying places where the virus isn’t common), but experts say that the risk to the broader population, as a whole, is low. The virus is also more common in parts of Central and West Africa.

A WHO official also said that there’s no evidence that monkeypox has mutated, pushing back against speculation that it was a mutation that caused the outbreak.

Key comments:

“This is a containable situation," said the WHO’s emerging disease lead Maria Van Kerkhove at a Monday news conference. “We want to stop human-to-human transmission. We can do this in the non-endemic countries," she said. “Transmission is really happening from skin-to-skin contact, most of the people who have been identified have more of a mild disease."

“Current available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic,” read a WHO statement released on Sunday. “WHO is also working to provide guidance to protect frontline health care providers and other health workers who may be at risk such as cleaners.”