More than 50,000 cases of monkey pox have been recorded in the global outbreak, World Health Organization figures showed on Wednesday; but transmission is slowing down in the virus hotspots of Europe and the United States.

The WHO dashboard listed 50,496 cases and 16 deaths as reported this year to the UN agency, which declared the outbreak a global public health emergency in July.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the decline in new infections shows the outbreak can be halted.

“In America, which accounts for more than half of reported cases, several countries are seeing more and more infections, although it is encouraging to see a continued downward trend in Canada,” he told a news conference.

“Some European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, are also seeing a marked slowdown in the outbreak, demonstrating the effectiveness of public health interventions and community engagement to detect infections and prevent transmission.

“These signals confirm what we have consistently said from the start: that with the right measures, this is an outbreak that can be stopped.”

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Since early May, an increase in monkeypox infections has been reported outside of African countries where it has long been endemic.

The WHO heralded its highest alert level on July 24, classifying it as a public health emergency of international concern, alongside COVID-19.

“Eliminating monkeypox needs three things: the proof that it is possible, which we are now beginning to see; political will and commitment; and the implementation of public health measures in the communities that need them most,” said Tedros.

“We don’t have to live with monkey pox.”

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