Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said during a media briefing on 27 July to address the current monkeypox outbreak.
More than 18 thousand cases of monkeypox have now been reported to WHO from 78 countries, with more than 70% of cases reported from the European Region, and 25% from the Region of the Americas.
So far, five deaths have been reported, and about 10% of cases are admitted to hospital to manage the pain caused by the disease.
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.
The best way to do that is to reduce the risk of exposure. That means making safe choices for yourself and others.
For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed.
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.
Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus, and can fuel the outbreak.
As we have seen with COVID-19, misinformation and disinformation can spread rapidly online, so we call on social media platforms, tech companies and news organizations to work with us to prevent and counter harmful information.
Although 98% 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.
In addition to transmission through sexual contact, monkeypox can be spread in households through close contact between people, such as hugging and kissing, and on contaminated towels or bedding.
Source: World Health Organization