The agency on 26 May 2022 urged African countries to strengthen monkeypox surveillance and put in place energetic infection control measures against the virus.
Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of CDC Africa, said the agency had provided advice to African Union member states on strengthening monkeypox surveillance, establishing laboratory diagnostic capacity, expanding knowledge of the disease among clinical teams and putting infection control measures in place as countries engage with communities at risk.
“We urge anyone with symptoms to seek prompt medical attention. Indeed, the public is strongly encouraged to wash their hands, use available disinfectants on an ongoing basis, avoid touching animals that appear sick, and avoid touching animals known to be carrying the monkeypox virus,” he said.
On vaccines, he said one of the key tools in dealing with the monkeypox epidemic was the use of vaccines and that Africa was using smallpox vaccines, which he said offered very high protection.
“We are looking forward to a situation where the hoarding episode seen in COVID-19 will not be repeated in this situation,” Ogwell said.
Ogwell said four African countries had reported a cumulative number of 1,405 endemic monkeypox cases and 62 deaths during 2022, a case-fatality rate of 4.4%.
According to Ogwell, monkeypox is endemic in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, noting that “two other countries, Morocco and Sudan, are investigating suspected cases“.
More new human cases of monkeypox have been identified worldwide, with dozens reported in the U.K. alone. The increase comes after previous evidence had suggested there was unknown transmission of the monkeypox virus within the country’s population, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Monkeypox is thought to originate in rodents in Central and West Africa, and it has repeatedly jumped to humans. Cases outside Africa are rare and have so far been traced to infected travelers or imported animals.