Cyprus to get 1,400 monkeypox vaccines

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Cyprus is expected to receive 1,400 vaccines for monkeypox this week, with healthcare workers the first to be vaccinated, a health ministry official said on Sunday.

The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Saturday with more than 16,000 reported cases in 75 countries and territories.

No cases have been reported on the island, but health authorities remain on alert.

Ministry spokesman Constantinos Athanasiou said that the first vaccines may arrive “as early as Monday”, while Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela has called for a meeting at Nicosia General hospital to assess the readiness of the health services.

Nicosia General has been designated as the reference hospital for potential monkeypox cases among adults, and the Makarios maternal and paediatric hospital for any cases involving children.

Transmission among humans can occur through exposure to infected body fluids or contaminated objects, by small droplets, and possibly through the airborne route. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that forms blisters and then crusts over.

The danger is described as moderate for those with multiple sexual partners and low for the wider population.

According to epidemiological research, most cases have been detected through sexual health clinics or other health services with a travel history to European and North American countries and not endemic countries where the virus is known to exist.