A senior World Health Organization official warned on Friday that countries should act quickly to stop the spread of monkeypox and share information about their vaccination stocks.

“We think that if we put in place the right measures now we probably can contain this easily,” Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, told the United Nations agency’s annual meeting.

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Monkeypox is a viral virus that is common in portions of West and Central Africa.

It spreads primarily through intimate contact and was rarely seen in other regions of the world before the recent outbreak, which is why the sudden rise of cases in Europe, the United States, and other areas has stirred concerns.

So far, there have been approximately 300 confirmed or suspected cases in approximately 20 countries where the virus had not previously circulated.

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“For us, we think that the key priority currently is trying to contain this transmission in non-endemic countries,” Briand said at a technical briefing for member states.

She went on to say that necessary precautions included early detection and isolation of cases, as well as contact tracking.

Member states should also share information on first-generation stockpiles of smallpox vaccines, which can also be used to combat monkeypox, according to Briand.

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“We don’t know exactly the number of doses available in the world and so that’s why we encourage countries to come to WHO and tell us what are their stockpiles,” she explained. Her presentation included a graphic that depicted global supplies as “very constrained.”

Currently, WHO officials advise against bulk immunisation, instead recommending targeted vaccination for close contacts of affected patients where accessible.

“Case investigation, contact tracing, isolation at home will be your best bets,” said Rosamund Lewis, WHO chief of the smallpox secretariat, which is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme.