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Quick Action to Cage Monkeypox Needed: WHO

FILE: Test tubes labeled "Monkeypox virus positive" shown in a laboratory, May 23, 2022

A World Health Organization senior official said on Friday that the priority needs to be containing monkeypox in non-endemic countries, saying that this can be achieved through quick action. But it has already spread beyond Africa to Europe and North America.

So far, there are more than 200 confirmed or suspected countries in around 20 cases where the virus was not previously circulating. That includes Europe and North America.

And the World Health Organization says a fast, robust response is needed to keep this viral infection from gaining more strength and reach.

Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, stated at the UN health agency's annual assembly "We think if we put the right measures in place now we can contain it easily."

Despite the spread of monkeypox, Briand is urging the general public not to be alarmed, saying transmission is much slower than other viruses such as the coronavirus.

WHO officials said that there was no need for mass vaccination at present, but also said it supports targeted vaccination when people have been in close contact with others who are infected.

"Case investigation, contact tracing, isolation at home will be your best bets," said Rosamund Lewis, WHO head of the smallpox secretariat which is part of the WHO Emergencies Program.