Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe has urged people in the country to be alert to the monkeypox outbreak which has now been reported in seven African countries.
The outbreak has so far infected 824 people in 34 countries across the globe and killed 66 in Africa.
The seven African countries include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria and Liberia which have reported 44 confirmed cases.
In an interview yesterday, Jobe called on authorities to intensify awareness among communities and surveillance, especially in entry points.
“The public should be able to identify the disease and seek early medical attention when they detect any signs,” he said.
A statement dated May 26 2022 signed by Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo says the ministry is closely monitoring the outbreak using the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved integrated disease surveillance and response and the international health regulations to monitor the situation.
He said the ministry is screening travellers and has put in place measures to manage those suspected of infection from emerging diseases such as monkeypox.
Said Mwansambo: “Even though the disease has not yet been reported in the country, we already have treatment centres for the diseases.
“Malawians should continue observing personal hygiene practices such as washing hands with soap and observing social distancing.”
In its situation report issued on Saturday, WHO said as of June 2 2022, 780 laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases had been reported in other regions and 44 cases in Africa. However, death has only been reported in Africa.
WHO calls on countries to be alert, and increase awareness among potentially affected communities.
WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti called for global collaboration in fighting the disease.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that can spread from animals to humans, but can also spread between people through close contact with an infected person, and /or objects including clothes and bed sheets as well as droplets.
Symptoms that last two to four weeks include skin rash or lesions, fever, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes.
WHO started receiving reports of suspected monkeypox cases on May 13 2022.