Red Alert For Monkeypox in Europe, Advice to Countries on Vaccination Strategy


European countries were asked to prepare a vaccination plan to combat the growing outbreak of monkeypox, as Denmark became the newest affected country.

The Daily Mail reported that EU officials are set to publish a risk assessment, which will advise all member states to formulate a vaccination strategy to control the spread of the tropical virus.

No monkeypox-specific vaccine currently exists, but the smallpox vaccine, which was routinely administered four decades ago to eradicate the virus, is up to 85 percent effective, the Daily Mail reports.

The strategy that can be recommended is one that is already in place in the UK. Officials are trying to stop the spread by vaccinating everyone who has been in close contact with the 20 confirmed monkeypox cases, including NHS workers.

The strategy, called ring vaccination, involves surveillance around an infected person to create a buffer of those with immunity to limit the spread of the disease.

The need for surveillance comes as experts warn that countries could impose travel restrictions to control the spread of the disease if the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the outbreak an emergency.

According to the Daily Mail, the vaccine, Imvanex, made by Denmark-based drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, is not yet authorized for use against monkeypox in Europe or the UK.

The European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine for use against smallpox in 2013, while the US Food and Drug Administration approved the injection for both infections in 2019.

There is no data available on how safe this injection is for people with immunity or the groups most at risk from outbreaks, or young people.

As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected infections were reported to WHO officials, most of which were traced to Europe.

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