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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (File Image)
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (File Image)

Monkeypox outbreak can be stopped, if world take risks seriously: WHO chief

ANI | Updated: Jul 27, 2022 22:14 IST

Geneva [Switzerland], July 27 (ANI): The Monkeypox outbreak can be stopped, if the world takes the risks seriously, said World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday amid the rising number of cases.
More than 18,000 cases have now been reported to WHO from 78 countries, with more than 70 per cent of cases reported from Europe. So far, five deaths have been reported and about 10 per cent of monkeypox cases have been hospitalized.
"This is an outbreak that can be stopped, if countries, communities and individuals inform themselves, take the risks seriously, and take the steps needed to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups," Tedros said during a press briefing.
"The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure. That means making safe choices for yourself and others," he added.
Tedros said men who have sex with men should reduce their number of sexual partners, and reconsider sex with new partners.
"The focus for all countries must be engaging and empowering communities of men who have sex with men to reduce the risk of infection and onward transmission, to provide care for those infected, and to safeguard human rights and dignity," he said.
Amid the ongoing spread of the virus, the WHO chief warned against "stigma and discrimination", saying it can be as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the outbreak.
"Although 98 per cent of cases so far are among men who have sex with men, anyone exposed can get monkeypox, which is why WHO recommends that countries take action to reduce the risk of transmission to other vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women and those who are immunosuppressed," he said.
A day earlier, WHO Technical Lead on Monkeypox Dr Rosamund Lewis, pointed out that stigma and discrimination must be avoided, as that would harm the response to the disease.
Monkeypox could cause a range of signs and symptoms, including painful sores. Some people developed serious symptoms that need care in a health facility. Those at higher risk for severe disease or complications include pregnant women, children, and immunocompromised persons.
According to Dr Lewis, WHO was working with member states and the European Union on releasing vaccines, and with partners to determine a global coordination mechanism. She emphasized that mass vaccination was not required.
She stressed that countries with manufacturing capacity for smallpox and Monkeypox diagnostics, vaccines or therapeutics should increase production. (ANI)