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Monkeypox Infection Risk Highest in Europe

July 23, 2022 • 11:06 am CDT
the WHO
(Vax Before Travel)

During a Virtual Press Conference conducted by the WHO today, the Director-General declared the current monkeypox virus (MPXV) outbreak has spread worldwide and has become a public health emergency.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's analysis of the 2nd meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the multi-country monkeypox outbreak differed from Committee Members who did not reach a consensus regarding their advice on the determination of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The Director-General announced a set of Temporary Recommendations on July 23, 2022, that include but are limited to international travel:

  1. WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region, where the assessed risk is high. Mathematical models estimate the basic reproduction number in men who have sex with men in Spain is 1.8, in the U.K. at 1.6, and in Portugal at 1.4.

  2. There is also a clear risk of further international spread.

  3. Anyone with signs and symptoms compatible with an MPXV infection, or being considered a suspect, probable, or confirmed case of monkeypox or who has been identified as a contact of a monkeypox case and, therefore, is subject to health monitoring should avoid undertaking any travel until they are determined as no longer constituting a public health risk.

Additionally, today's PHEIC recommendations included:

  • Interventions should promote voluntary self-reporting and care-seeking behavior to facilitate timely access to quality clinical care, protect the human rights, privacy, and dignity of affected individuals and their contacts across all communities.
  • Implement response actions to stop monkeypox virus transmission, focusing on communities at high risk of exposure, which may differ according to context and include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. 
  • Strengthen genomic sequencing capacities and international specimens referral capacities as needed, build on existing sequencing capacities worldwide to determine circulating virus clades and their evolution, and share genetic sequence data through publicly accessible databases.
  • Conduct contact tracing among individuals in contact with anyone who may be a suspected, probable, or confirmed case of monkeypox and follow-up for 21 days through health monitoring.
  • Consider the targeted use of second or third-generation smallpox or monkeypox vaccines for post-exposure and pre-exposure prophylaxis in persons at risk of exposure.

In closing, the Director-General stated, 'There is a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment.'

'So in short, we have an (MPXV) outbreak that has spread worldwide rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations.'

Additional monkeypox outbreak news, vaccines, and treatments are posted at

Note: The WHO information was manually curated for international travelers.