Brussels, 13 September 2022
Today, on the occasion of the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, and WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, reconfirmed their joint efforts to prevent monkeypox from becoming endemic in Europe.
“We are witnessing the unprecedented spread of an orthopoxvirus responsible for monkeypox disease in our Region and around the globe. This zoonotic virus, which was previously linked to only limited-person-to-person spread in non-endemic countries, now represents a global cross-border health threat in Europe and a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Since early May 2022, the WHO European Region has seen more than 23,000 cases of monkeypox, with over 18,000 of these cases occurring in the EU/EEA. The coordinated and combined response efforts of our European, national and regional health institutions and authorities have been critically important and we have now seen cases declining over the past weeks.
We believe the way to prevent the disease from becoming endemic in our region is first through the outbreak control and then by working towards the sustained elimination of monkeypox from Europe, which means ensuring the absence of sustained person-to-person transmission.
A continued response between institutions, governments, health agencies and affected populations continues to be essential for our collective response and to further improve the situation.
The European Commission and the WHO continue to collaborate across a set of four core areas:
- Providing high quality and complementary guidance and recommendations to all groups involved, such as health authorities and civil societies;
- Ensuring that critical monkeypox supplies or countermeasures are available and deployed;
- Tackling stigma and discrimination of the population groups most at risk;
- Closing outstanding knowledge gaps by supporting international research efforts.
The European Commission and the WHO will continue to work together, in consultation with Member States to define joint timelines, criteria and indicators for preventing the disease from becoming endemic in Europe, striving jointly to better protect citizens.”
Source – EU Commission