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EAC urges for public education on moneypox to limit spread

EAC urges for public education on moneypox to limit spread

EAST African Community (EAC) partner states have been urged to provide necessary information to their citizens to protect them and prevent monkeypox from spreading.

This follows reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of 780 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox as of 2nd June, 2022.

A statement availed to the  media  yesterday said that, the cases have been reported to or identified by WHO from 27 member states across four WHO regions that are not endemic for monkeypox virus, while Monkeypox is endemic in some African countries.

According to the WHO, 1,392 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported this year until mid of May in seven African countries, of which 44 cases are confirmed. This is in the 4.5 months slightly less than half the number of cases reported for the whole of last year.

 The WHO says that, the sudden appearance of monkeypox in multiple countries across the world indicates the virus has been spreading undetected for some time outside the West and Central African nations where it is usually found.

“Because of the proximity of the EAC Partner States to some of the affected countries, it is important that we take precautionary measures to minimise its spread,” said Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors.

Bazivamo added   "it is important that people are given necessary information on the nature of the disease and how they can protect themselves and prevent the disease from spreading.”

 “This will also help in avoiding unnecessary panic and stigmatisation particularly now that people easily associate any disease outbreak to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” added Bazivamo.

The DSG further emphasized on the importance of factual risk communication to communities, that provides necessary information without causing unnecessary concern, and need for stepping up surveillance.

According to the statement, Monkeypox outbreaks are not new. The virus was first discovered in monkeys in 1958, with the first human case in the African region detected in 1970. Since then, there have been multiple outbreaks of the viral disease that can spread from animals to humans but can also spread between people.

Transmission is possible through close contact with an infected person, or objects including clothes and bedsheets as well as droplets. Symptoms typically include skin rash or lesions, fever, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain, general body weakness and swollen lymph nodes and last from two to four weeks.

In many patients, the symptoms are moderate and clear up on their own but severe cases and even death can occur. WHO states the case fatality ratio, or the per cent of people dying compared to those diagnosed, to be around 3-6 per cent.

In comparison to Covid-19, which is a highly contagious disease, transmission of monkeypox is more difficult. WHO assesses the current risk posed by monkeypox to human health and for the general public as low.

EAC urges for public education on moneypox to limit spread

EAST African Community (EAC) partner states ...

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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