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World Health Organization urges vigilance in Europe over mpox

Nearly a year after the mpox (monkeypox) outbreak in the European region of the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency has urged vigilance in Europe over mpox ahead of the festival season.

A new campaign is launched as Europe heads into the spring and summer months when a number of Pride festivals are set to take place across towns and cities, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a press release issued by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

The aim of the campaign is to reinforce the message that “monkeypox remains with us and that continued vigilance is still needed”.

The “Ready for It” campaign was launched despite a significant decrease in the number of mpox cases in recent months, due to WHO Europe concerns that “the possibility of further re-introductions from outside the region, either from endemic areas or newly affected countries, is likely”.

The campaign urges the most vulnerable groups and the sexually active who will attend the events and festivals across Europe this spring and summer “to be aware of the symptoms of mpox, to get tested, and to abstain from sexual activity if they develop symptoms.”

To support the campaign’s message, WHO Europe is planning to release a catalogue of resources on mpox mass gathering and large event preparedness, including updated guidance and information for authorities and event organizers in preparation for this year’s festival season.

According to WHO Europe, the campaign will coincide with the publication of a new mpox strategy, which outlines the steps that member states in the region must take to prepare for the spring and summer seasons, as well as the medium to long-term measures necessary to stop the sustained transmission of mpox from person to person.

An atypical outbreak of mpox was declared in May 2022 in the WHO European region. Patients, mainly men who have sex with men, were identified in sexual health clinics, but anyone can catch mpox through close contact, according to the WHO.

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