Epidemic in Congo: WHO fears further spread of infectious disease Mpox

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of a further spread of the infectious disease Mpox beyond the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We are concerned about the existence of international transmission,” said WHO expert Rosamund Lewis.

In the Congo A “rapid” increase in the number of cases has already been observed: authorities have already reported more than 13,000 suspected cases this year, more than twice as many as in previous years, Lewis said. More than 600 infected people have died. What is particularly worrying is that, for the first time, more women than men are infected in areas affected by the epidemic.

The WHO sounded the alarm on the infectious situation in Congo at the end of November and sent a group of experts to this central African country.

Epidemics are now appearing in several Asian countries, including Japan, Vietnam, China and Indonesia. Cambodia also reported its first case this week. Recently, the number of reported cases has increased again, from about 100 cases per month in June, July and August to “over 1,000 per month,” as Lewis said.

Infections are milder than smallpox

Mpox is a viral disease that can be transmitted to humans from infected animals. A little over a year ago, the WHO renamed this disease known for years as monkeypox to avoid stigmatization.

Mpox infections are generally much milder than smallpox, which was eradicated about 40 years ago. However, serious outcomes and rarely death can also occur. Typical symptoms of the disease include fever and skin pustules.

In May 2022, the disease began to spread outside Africa, particularly in Europe. It is mainly men who have sex with men who have been affected. As with the coronavirus, the WHO declared a health emergency of international concern, which ended in May 2023.

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