World health officials are scrambling to ensure that the “scarce” monkeypox vaccine is widely available as experts warn that cases of monkeypox continue to grow worldwide.
“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the [monkeypox] virus,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said at a member state information session on Thursday.
“More than 7,000 cases have been recorded in 60 countries,” Ghebreyesu said, with Europe “the current epicentre of the outbreak, recording more than 80 percent of cases globally.”
“In Africa, cases are also appearing in countries not previously affected, while countries with experience of monkeypox are finding record levels of infection,” he added.
Ghebreyesu said WHO officials are “following the data closely,” and that he plans to “reconvene the Emergency Committee so they are updated on the current epidemiology and evolution of the outbreak, and implementation of counter measures.”
The director said that he was planning a meeting of that committee during the week of July 18, or “sooner if needed.”
Monkeypox is a largely non-fatal disease, resulting in most cases in symptoms such as favor, aches and a rash, though the first three victims of the latest outbreak reportedly died this week in Africa.