Health

Monkeypox Crisis Escalates: WHO Reports Over 25,000 Cases in DRC

What you need to know more about

  • The report underscores the alarming nature of the current monkeypox outbreak situation in the DRC, citing a sustained surge in suspected cases compared to previous years, with a notable impact on younger demographics, particularly children under 15 years old, who represent the majority of both suspected cases and fatalities.
  • Roger Kamba, the DRC minister of public health, hygiene, and prevention, highlighted the escalating threat of monkeypox over the years, labeling it as a pressing public health issue for communities in the DRC, a regional menace, and ultimately, a global concern.

The World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed on Tuesday that since the monkeypox outbreak was declared in December 2022 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a total of 25,318 suspected cases, resulting in 1,204 deaths, have been reported.

As per the latest update released on Tuesday, the outbreak, initially announced by the DRC Health Ministry on Dec. 16, 2022, was instigated by a noticeable escalation in both cases and fatalities linked to monkeypox, along with a rapid spread to provinces not historically affected.

Since the onset of 2024, a cumulative count of 5,133 suspected cases, with 321 fatalities, has been documented, according to the WHO report. The report underscores the alarming nature of the current monkeypox outbreak situation in the DRC, citing a sustained surge in suspected cases compared to previous years, with a notable impact on younger demographics, particularly children under 15 years old, who represent the majority of both suspected cases and fatalities.

In April 2024, an emergency regional meeting focusing on monkeypox in Africa convened in the DRC capital Kinshasa, bringing together 12 health ministers from neighboring countries. The objective was to formulate unified strategies for prevention and effective intervention in the face of monkeypox across Africa.

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Jean Kaseya, the director general of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), emphasized at the meeting the necessity of preventing cross-border transmission originating from the DRC and prioritizing the health of affected populations.

Roger Kamba, the DRC minister of public health, hygiene, and prevention, highlighted the escalating threat of monkeypox over the years, labeling it as a pressing public health issue for communities in the DRC, a regional menace, and ultimately, a global concern. He emphasized the urgency of mobilizing efforts to address this crisis.

Monkeypox, initially identified in laboratory monkeys in 1958, is believed to be transmitted from wild animals like rodents to humans, or through human-to-human contact.

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