The health ministry has asked localities to ramp up surveillance in border areas for possible cases of monkeypox, which has reportedly spread to at least 12 countries.
A representative of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health was quoted on the government news portal as saying monkeypox was usually zoonotic, but human-to-human transmission was possible through contact with wounds, bodily fluids and contaminated objects.
To detect possible cases of monkeypox and promptly roll out response plans, the health ministry has asked local health departments to detect possible cases at the border, especially among those coming from countries where monkeypox is present: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.
Medical facilities should also increase surveillance and if possible cases of monkeypox are detected, they must be reported to health departments for follow up action.
The health ministry recommended that people avoid contact with those having smallpox, including sexual intercourse and disinfect their hands often.
Those coming to countries where monkeypox is present need to avoid contact with sick mammals, avoid eating their meat or coming in contact with them, it said.
The WHO said Tuesday that there have been 131 confirmed monkeypox cases and 106 further suspected cases since the first was reported on May 7 outside the countries where it usually spreads, Reuters reported.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that can occur in certain animal species, including humans. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, headache and muscle pains, followed with rash and blisters. It is endemic in parts of west and central Africa, and until the recent outbreak, has only rarely been seen in other parts of the world.
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