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Africa on high alert for monkeypox outbreak

Africa on high alert for monkeypox outbreak

from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE World Health Organisation (WHO) is supporting African countries strengthen monkey-pox surveillance and response to outbreaks.

The support comes after seven countries in the continent cumulatively reported about 1 400 cases so far this year.

Of these cases, 1 392 are suspected and 44 confirmed.

To date, countries comprising Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone have reported monkey-pox cases.

The number of cases in 2022 is slightly fewer than half of cases reported in 2021 according to WHO.

WHO and partners meanwhile are working to better understand the magnitude and cause of a global monkey-pox outbreak.

This outbreak has caused a scare internationally, two years after the explosion of the COVID-19.

“We must avoid having two different responses to monkey-pox – one for Western countries which are only now experiencing significant transmission and another for Africa,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO director for Africa.

She said experts must work together and have joined-up global actions, which include Africa’s experience, expertise and needs.

“This is the only way to ensure we reinforce surveillance and better understand the evolution of the disease, while scaling up readiness and response to curb any further spread,” Dr. Moeti said.

Monkey-pox was first detected in humans in 1970 in the African region.

Since then most cases have been reported in rural and rainforest areas.

Monkey-pox is a viral disease that can spread from animals to humans but can also spread between people through close contact.

In many patients, the symptoms clear up on their own but severe cases and even death can occur.

– CAJ News

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