This 2003 electron microscope image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature, right.
More than 13,600 doses of vaccines against Monkeypox have now been delivered to European Union member states, the Commission announced on Friday.
Spain was the first country to get a delivery, receiving 5,300 doses in late June.
Since then Germany has also received 5,300 doses, while Portugal and Belgium have had deliveries of 2,700 and 340 doses respectively, a spokesman for the Commission has confirmed.
The EU’s executive struck a contract with Bavarian Nordic in mid-June to purchase 109,090 doses of their 3rd generation vaccines using a mechanism it developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The doses are to be progressively delivered to member states with those most impacted by the outbreak of monkeypox to be prioritised.
As of 6 July, nearly 5,950 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 33 countries and areas throughout the European region, accounting for about two-thirds of reported cases worldwide, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The United Kingdom has reported the most cases (1,351), followed by Spain and Germany – each reporting about 1,250 – and then France, Portugal and the Netherlands which have so far reported 350 and 500 cases.
According to the ECDC, most of the cases have been detected in males between 18-50 years, and primarily among men who have sex with men (MSM).
Particular sexual practices have facilitated transmission among MSM groups with multiple partners but the agency stressed nonetheless that there is potential for further transmission in other population groups.
It currently considers as high the likelihood of the disease spreading in networks of people with multiple sexual partners in the EU/EEA but as low the likelihood of further spread among the broader population.
It also flagged that the impact of the disease remains low for the majority of cases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has so far recorded three deaths worldwide.
The ECDC has underlined that early diagnoses, isolation, effective contact tracing, and vaccination strategies are key for the effective control of this outbreak, emphasising however that mass vaccination is neither required nor recommended.
For the European agency, national health services should vaccinate priority groups of MSM at higher risk of exposure, as well as frontline staff with a risk for occupational exposure.