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EU the ‘epicentre of detected cases’ of monkeypox, warns commissioner

EU member states must step up their response to the outbreak of the monkeypox virus, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a letter seen by dpa on Wednesday.

Writing to EU health ministers, Kyriakides called for greater cooperation to address the global health situation “where the European Union is the epicentre of detected cases.”

The rallying call to the bloc’s health ministers comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 50 countries an “emergency of international concern.”

Reminding ministers of previous experience at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kyriakides called for EU countries to share monkeypox case data widely across the EU.

The health commissioner also urged EU member states to step up contact tracing to stem potential virus outbreaks while speeding up work to distribute vaccines.

Kyriakides encouraged EU member states to increase public health campaigns about monkeypox but cautioned against the risk of stigmatization.

While monkeypox cases are concentrated in the demographic group of men who have sex with men, “this group should not be targeted, victimized or marginalized because of the outbreak,” Kyriakides said.

The letter follows an announcement from the European Commission to approve the vaccine Imvanex for use against the monkeypox virus in the EU, and by extension Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The treatable disease features a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. The lesions usually first appear on the face before forming on other parts of the body.

Source: GNA

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