Health, Africa

Monkeypox kills 58, infects over 1,200 in DR Congo since January: WHO

Suspected cases of contagious disease spread across 18 provinces of Central African country

James Tasamba   | 20.05.2022
Monkeypox kills 58, infects over 1,200 in DR Congo since January: WHO FILE PHOTO

KIGALI, Rwanda

Monkeypox killed at least 58 people and infected over 1,200 others in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the beginning of this year, the World Health Organization said on Friday, as cases have climbed in the European and North American nations.

The suspected cases of the contagious disease are spread across 18 provinces of the country.

Until May 8, at least 1,284 suspected cases of monkeypox, including 58 deaths, have been reported in 87 health zones, the WHO country office said.

At least 468 cases have been reported in the Sankuru province, 169 in Tshopo, 168 in Equateur, and 108 cases in Tshuapa, it said, adding that the WHO is supporting in-depth investigations in addition to providing medical supplies.

The disease that usually occurs in forested parts of the West and Central Africa has been reported in Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, France, Canada, and the US. Australia on Friday also confirmed its first case of monkeypox in the Victoria state while another one is under investigation in Sydney.

The rare disease manifests itself through fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of an infected person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels, but usually clears up after two to four weeks, according to health officials.

The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the orthopoxvirus family.

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