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Ten non-endemic countries hit by monkeypox

WHO is working to support Member States with surveillance, preparedness and outbreak response activities for monkeypox in affected countries.

WHO is working to support Member States with surveillance, preparedness and outbreak response activities for monkeypox in affected countries.

Published Jun 21, 2022

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Cape Town - Monkeypox cases were reported from over 10 countries in non-endemic areas by the end of May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, as it announced it was working with affected countries to enhance surveillance and provide guidance on how to stop the spread and how to care for those infected.

Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries – Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.

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The WHO on Monday said that with the exception of cases sporadically reported in travellers from endemic countries, cases in non- endemic areas that are not linked to travel from endemic countries are not typical.

As at May 2022, there was no clear link between the cases reported and travel from endemic countries and no link with infected animals.

“We understand that this outbreak is concerning for many, especially people whose loved ones have been affected.

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“What is most important right now is that we raise awareness about monkeypox among people who are most at risk of infection and provide advice on how to limit further spread between people.

“It is also important that public health workers are able to identify and care for patients. It is essential that no one stigmatises anyone who is affected by this event.

“WHO is working to support Member States with surveillance, preparedness and outbreak response activities for monkeypox in affected countries.

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“Studies are underway in affected countries to determine the source of infection of each identified case and actions to provide medical care and limit further spread.”

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread between people.

It is commonly found in central and west Africa, where there are tropical rainforests and where animals that may carry the virus typically live.

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People with monkeypox are occasionally identified in other countries outside of central and west Africa, following travel from regions where monkeypox is endemic.

Symptoms of monkeypox typically include a fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash or lesions on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, mouth, genitals, perianal area or eyes.

If you do develop symptoms, contact your health care provider for advice, testing and medical care.

Cape Times

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