Since early May 2022, countries in Africa have reported confirmed cases of Monkeypox and in no time, the virus had moved out of the continent to America. On October 10, America’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 26,577 cases of monkeypox had been identified in the U.S.
The virus seemed to have fazed out till reports of an outbreak surfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country where the virus was first detected 50 years ago.
According to the African CDC, the DRC has had more than 4,000 suspected and confirmed cases and 154 deaths this year, even though the authority admits that the death toll and confirmed cases could be much greater than their official records.
“Yes, there is an undercount,” said Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the Africa CDC. “The communities where the monkeypox is spreading generally don’t have access to regular health facilities.” He said the CDC could not currently say how big the undercount was.
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral disease that is caused by a virus in the same family as the smallpox virus. It is believed that the virus is transmitted to humans from contact with infected monkeys or their droppings. But it is commonly transmitted through contact with an infected person.
The first symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, it causes a rash on the face, the bottoms of the feet, the hands, the genitals, and other parts of the body.
On June 23, 2022, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a global public health emergency, citing the need for urgent care especially in countries with very high infection spread rate. Unfortunately, countries like the DRC, despite its increasing infection rate have not been able to access the vaccine that was made available in America during the peak of its infection. The monkeypox vaccine is also unavailable in other parts of Africa,
According to openly sourced data, the virus which is notebly endemic in some countries in Africa has affected a total of 77,000 people globally.