The priority in the fight against monkeypox is to limit its spread in countries where the disease is not endemic, which is possible with rapid measures, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Monkeypox is an endemic viral disease in central and western Africa, but its recent appearance in Europe and the United States raises concerns. More than 200 suspected or confirmed cases have recently been identified in around twenty countries where the virus causing the disease has not been circulating until now.
“We believe that if we put the right measures in place now, we can easily stem it,” said Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO’s department of global infectious risk preparedness, during a technical presentation to member states. at the organization’s annual meeting.
Sylvie Briand added that the situation should not cause excessive concern because the transmission of the disease is much slower than with other viruses, in particular with the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
The WHO does not consider it necessary at this stage to launch massive vaccination campaigns and considers that campaigns targeting people who have been in close contact with infected people are sufficient.
“Case review, tracing, home isolation is the safest thing to do,” said Rosamund Lewis, who heads the smallpox secretariat at WHO’s Emergencies Programme.
For its part, the European Union has decided on joint purchases of a vaccine and an antiviral treatment against monkeypox, said the coordinator of the Swedish vaccine strategy, Richard Bergstrom, quoted by the daily Dagens Nyheter.
According to the newspaper, the EU will buy the Imvanex vaccine from the Danish Bavarian Nordic and the Tecovirimat treatment from the American Siga Technologies.
Richard Bergstrom, however, said that no contract had yet been signed.
“But it will go fast. We should have contracts ready in about a week and maybe limited deliveries in June,” he said.