More than 50,000 monkeypox cases have been recorded in the global outbreak, World Health Organisation figures showed Wednesday; but transmission is slowing in the virus hotspots of Europe and the United States.
The WHO’s dashboard listed 50,496 cases and 16 deaths as reported this year to the UN agency, which declared the outbreak a global public health emergency in July.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the declines in new infections proved the outbreak could be brought to a halt.
“In the Americas, which accounts for more than half of reported cases, several countries continue to see increasing numbers of infections, although it is encouraging to see a sustained downward trend in Canada,” he told a press conference.
“Some European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, are also seeing a clear slowing of the outbreak, demonstrating the effectiveness of public health interventions and community engagement to track infections and prevent transmission.
“These signs confirm what we have said consistently since the beginning: that with the right measures, this is an outbreak that can be stopped.”
A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the African countries where it has long been endemic.
The WHO triggered its highest level of alarm on July 24, classifying it as a public health emergency of international concern, alongside COVID-19.
“Eliminating monkeypox needs three things: the evidence that it’s possible, which we are now beginning to see; political will and commitment; and the implementation of public health measures in the communities that need them most,” said Tedros.
“We don’t have to live with monkeypox.”