The World Health Organization said that Europe is now the epicenter of the global outbreak of Monkeypox as more than 1,500 cases of the disease have been detected in the region.
“Europe remains the epicenter of this escalating outbreak with 25 countries reporting more than 1,500 cases, or 85 percent of the global total,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe said in a press briefing.
“The magnitude 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.
The disease was originally confined to Western and Central Africa. Majority of the cases in Europe have been linked to patients who are men having sex with men.
Next week, WHO will determine if there is a need to declare Monkeypox as an international health emergency or public health emergency of international concern.
The WHO said the outbreak outside African nations is concerning.
“The outbreak of monkeypox is unusual and concerning. For that reason I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the international health regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” the agency said.
The emergency meeting will be held on June 23 and discuss the designation of the disease.
“WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus… and the disease it causes. We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible,” the UN health agency said.
“In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing,” they added.