The growing number of people infected with smallpox in Europe is obscuring many summer plans for many people. They are unbalanced – especially when it comes to concert summer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is now giving the green light: it is against stopping the festival, but at the same time urging caution.
Mass events such as festivals could provide a “favorable environment” for the virus to transmit, WHO expert Amaia Artazcoz said on Friday. Nevertheless, the WHO does not recommend canceling or postponing festivals and concerts.
Instead, the WHO called on festival organizers to actively educate visitors about the risk of smallpox. In this way, it was possible to quickly detect infections, prevent further transmission and protect people at risk of infection.
“If we do nothing, we risk an increase in monkeypox cases this summer,” WHO spokeswoman Sarah Tyler warned.
Over the coming summer months, more than 800 festivals are planned across Europe, bringing together hundreds of thousands of visitors from many countries, Tyler said. Most participants are “highly mobile and sexually active, and many will have intimate skin-to-skin contact at or near these events.”
Since May, monkey smallpox has also spread to countries outside West and Central Africa, especially in Western Europe. According to the WHO, more than 3,200 cases have been reported in 48 countries so far this year.
Typical symptoms of the disease include high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and chickenpox-like pustules. The disease is transmitted by close contact between body and skin.