The Africa CDC and WHO report that the monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans by close contact with blood, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, and infected objects such as bedding. According to the Africa CDC, handling infected monkeys, giant rats, and squirrels increases the risk of human infection, with rodents serving as the virus’s most likely reservoir.
National infectious disease professionals assert that there is no need for widespread vaccination against monkeypox due to the absence of an outbreak equivalent to Covid-19. Dr. Julius Lutwama, a virologist at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), informed the Sunday Monitor on Friday that the nation is on high alert.
According to him, to test the monkeypox virus, they have requested materials from their partner institute at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
We are not hunting for the virus that causes monkeypox. Insufficient reagents are available. We have requested assistance, and if the reagents arrive, we may be able to conduct tests. Because it would be unnecessary, we would not test everyone who enters the country.” Dr. Lutwama stated, “Only suspect cases will be examined.”
According to medical professionals, the most common signs and symptoms of monkeypox infection include fever and blisters. Dr. Allan Muruta, the epidemics commissioner for the Ministry of Health, concurs with Dr. Lutwama that Ugandans have no cause for concern.
“The virus is widely recognized. Since it has existed for some time [in the neighboring DRC] and creates little noise, Dr. Muruta believes it to be possible. The virologist at UVRI disagrees with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) opinion that the virus underwent a mutation.”
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Since Europeans have reported, there should not be any commotion. Dr. Lutwama stated, “There has always been major trade with the DRC, and the country experiences tens of thousands of monkeypox cases a year.”
Large outbreaks of the virus were reported by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Cameroon in 2018, Nigeria in 2017, and the Central African Republic in 2016. African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Due to the outbreaks, 275 confirmed and probable cases have been detected.
In developing nations, many instances go unreported due to limited surveillance, and cases may not be confirmed using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, which is costly and inaccessible, or because essential ingredients are difficult to locate.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 200 confirmed and 100 suspected cases of the disease on Thursday. The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged for a global surveillance extension, noting the possibility of unreported cases. Growth has occurred in the United States, Europe, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. In West African nations, the virus is pervasive.
According to Dr. Charles Olaro, the chief of clinical services at the Ministry of Health, individuals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who enter the nation are screened. In addition to temperature monitoring and cleaning, the screening is the same as that for Covid-19 prevention.
“We have instructed our agents to remain vigilant about monkeypox.” “Because Uganda shares a border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some individuals have monkeypox antibodies, indicating exposure to the virus,” he stated.
The virus is more dangerous than Covid-19 because it causes severe monkeypox in 10% of affected individuals. An estimated 5% of infected persons will develop severe symptoms. Dr. Lutwama states, “Covid-19 is more contagious than monkeypox; hence, it affects more people.”
According to reports, countries in the United States and Europe with confirmed cases of the virus have ordered vaccines to immunize their populations. According to the World Health Organization, the smallpox vaccine protects against monkeypox.
Despite the approval of a vaccine (MVA-BN) and a specialized treatment (tecovirimat) for monkeypox in 2019 and 2022, respectively, neither is widely available.” Vaccines and therapies for the disease have not been made available to Africans, according to numerous African health specialists, including Dr. Lutwama.