WHO expresses concern over monkeypox outbreak in DRC-Xinhua

WHO expresses concern over monkeypox outbreak in DRC

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-07 23:23:45

KINSHASA, May 7 (Xinhua) -- A total of 25,318 suspected cases of monkeypox, including 1,204 deaths, have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the declaration of monkeypox outbreak in December 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

According to the latest report released on Tuesday, the outbreak, which was declared by the DRC Health Ministry on Dec. 16, 2022, was prompted by a notable surge in both cases and fatalities associated with monkeypox as well as a fast spread to non-endemic provinces.

Since the beginning of 2024, a total of 5,133 suspected cases, including 321 deaths, have been reported, according to the WHO report. It warns that the current situation of the monkeypox outbreak in the DRC is of "grave concern" due to the sustained increase in suspected cases compared to previous years, with a significant burden in younger populations, particularly children under 15 years of age, who constitute the majority of both suspected cases and deaths.

In April 2024, a high-level emergency regional meeting on monkeypox in Africa was convened in DRC capital Kinshasa, gathering 12 health ministers of regional countries, aiming to develop common strategies to prevent and intervene effectively in the face of monkeypox in Africa.

"We must prevent the DRC from becoming the source of cross-border transmission, and our partnership must prioritize the health of those affected," said Jean Kaseya, the director general of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) at the meeting.

"Over the years, monkeypox has become a real public health problem for our communities in the DRC, a regional threat and ultimately a global problem. We must now mobilize to resolve this crisis," said Roger Kamba, DRC minister of public health, hygiene and prevention, at the meeting.

Monkeypox, first detected in laboratory monkeys in 1958, is assumed to be transmitted from wild animals such as rodents to people, or from human to human.