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Republic Of Congo Declares Mpox Epidemic

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The Republic of Congo has announced an epidemic of Monkeypox (mpox) after 19 cases were confirmed across five departments, including the capital Brazaville. Mpox is a viral illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It can occur in humans and other animals. Symptoms include a rash that forms blisters and then crusts over, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Mpox is a zoonosis, a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans, with cases often found close to tropical rainforests where there are animals that carry the virus. Evidence of monkeypox virus infection has been found in animals including squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, different species of monkeys, and others. The disease can also spread from humans to humans. It can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects.

The Health Minister Gilbert Mokoki in a statement on Tuesday said no deaths have yet been recorded. He called on the public to take precautions including close contack with suspected cases, avoiding contact with animals, and avoiding handling game meat with bare hands.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the virus mpox to replace the older term monkeypox, citing concerns of stigma and racism associated with the name.

Mpox was first detected in humans in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, according to the WHO.

According to the WHO, monkeypox is a disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although less severe. While smallpox was eradicated in 1980, mpox continues to occur in countries of central and west Africa.