Cases of monkeypox cases are mounting again after the outbreak’s first peak in March and the current status is now the subject of a WHO Disease Outbreak News notice. More than 4,500 suspected cases (and 171 deaths) have been recorded from across 17 provinces – highest counts in Sankuru, Mai-Ndombe, Equateur, Tshuapa and Mongala. But it is the situation in Mai-Ndombe that is causing the most concern: active outbreaks have continued throughout this year and in one affected health zone, a quarter of the territory is involved. The post notes that the outbreak is ‘reported in health zones which are also experiencing multiple disease outbreaks, including measles, polio due to cVDPV, malaria, cholera, and COVID-19, in addition to an ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in Equateur Province which continues to experience armed conflict and violence.’ Meanwhile, response measures to Equateur’s Ebola outbreak continue to face obstacles such as confirmed cases lost to follow-up and the inability to manage community deaths. Latest report here (OCHA Oct 5).
Advice for travellers
Closely related to the smallpox virus, monkeypox is mainly found in Central and Western Africa. Rodents are the suspected reservoir, with monkeys and humans as secondary or ‘spill-over’ hosts. People can be infected by eating undercooked ‘bushmeat’ or handling infected animals, making infection a low risk for travellers. Read more on monkeypox.
Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.