May 20, 2022 - Health

WHO concerned monkeypox could accelerate during summer months

World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri Kluge.

Hans Kluge. Photo: AytgÄ Can Sencar via Getty Images

The World Health Organization's European chief on Friday said he is concerned that monkeypox could spread in Europe in the next few months, as people gather for parties and festivals during the summer.

Driving the news: "As we enter the summer season in the European region, with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate, as the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity, and the symptoms are unfamiliar to many," WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement.

Context: Europe has seen a recent spread of monkeypox, with cases found in Belgium, Italy, London and northern Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

  • Kluge said he's concerned because cases have risen among those who have no travel history to places where monkeypox is endemic.
  • He said there's also concern "because most of the initial cases found are being detected through sexual health services and are among men who have sex with men" — a sign that community transmission may have been happening for some time.

Zoom out: One monkeypox case has been identified in the United States, too. Australia and Canada also reported cases.

Worth noting: Monkeypox incubates within people for six to 13 days before symptoms appear first appear.

Go deeper: What we know about the new monkeypox outbreak

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