By John Ikani
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it is investigating suspected cases of monkeypox outbreak in Sudan and Morocco.
The probe is coming on the heels of outbreaks of the virus in Europe, Australia, America and the Middle East.
Revealing these during his weekly briefing on Thursday, Deputy Director of the CDC, Dr Ahmed Ogwell said the continent had so far reported 1,405 cases and 62 monkeypox-related deaths this year – a case fatality rate of 4.4%.
Africa CDC Weekly Press Briefing | May 26, 2022 https://t.co/Ty08f0xFXz
— Africa CDC (@AfricaCDC) May 26, 2022
According to him, the confirmed cases and deaths occurred in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria where the disease is endemic.
While noting that some of the new cases have no travel link to central or West Africa, near tropical forests, Ogwell added that all African countries were advised to scale up surveillance and testing.
“The washing of hands is very important as it is a contact-spread disease,” Dr Ogwell said.
He also advised people to avoid touching animals that looked sick and those known to be carriers.
It is worthwhile to note that Monkeypox, a mild viral infection, can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person.
Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles – and a rash can develop once the fever breaks.
It is thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.
According to Dr Ogwell, smallpox vaccines were being administered in Africa with a view to combating the virus.
“The available supplies of smallpox vaccines will be prioritised to health workers and areas with confirmed cases of the virus,” he said.