Over 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 78 countries, World Health Organization (WHO) Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday.

The information was released during opening remarks at his regular COVID-19 update, saying there have been five monkeypox deaths while 10% of cases are admitted to the hospital.

According to him, the outbreak can be contained as long as countries, communities and individuals take the risks of the virus seriously.

Apparently, 98% of cases are among men who have sex with other men. The director general recommends they reduce the number of sexual partners.

Monkeypox, which WHO declared a global emergency last week, can be spread from person to person through sexual contact, kissing, hugging and contaminated clothing, towels and bed sheets.

Meanwhile, a smallpox vaccine, known as MVA-BN, has been approved for use against monkeypox in Canada, the European Union and the United States. Despite that, WHO still lacks data on the effectiveness of vaccines and therefore urges all countries that are using vaccines to share their data.

The monkeypox vaccine can take up to several weeks before protection takes effect, and WHO advises taking continued precautions to avoid exposure.

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