Monkey-pox: Zimbabweans urged not to panic

By Colette Musanyera

ZIMBABWEANS have been urged not to panic after more than 100 cases of Monkey-pox were confirmed globally.

Experts have however encouraged those traveling to affected countries to take precautionary measures.

The emergence of the monkey-pox virus in non-endemic countries like Australia, Germany, United Kingdom and Ireland, has become a cause for concern globally.

As a result, World Health Organisation (WHO) Health Systems Strengthening and Policies Advisor, Dr Stanley Midzi has urged Zimbabweans not to panic but take precautionary measures when traveling to areas where cases have been reported.

He said this at the United Nations Media Workshop on Development Reporting in Mutare this Tuesday.

“Monkey pox is an endemic condition always occur on a continuous basis at low level. The challenge now is that it has now occurred in non-endemic areas like Germany, Australia and USA and the reported cases haven’t traveled to affected areas. More than 200 scientists are set to meet this week in Geneva to unravel the mystery.

“However,  for an African setup we shouldn’t panic but we must be careful because we don’t have endemicity of this condition. Those traveling to affected areas should take precautions and when they return they should be put on 21-day surveillance. We do not have cases in Zimbabwe yet. However, the disease is less lethal its fatality rate being 3 to 6%. Treatment and vaccine are also available,” said Dr Midzi.

Dr Midzi added that an epidemiological investigation indicates that there are no travel links between reported cases and endemic areas, further confirming that over 200 scientists are set to meet in Geneva, Switzerland this week to investigate the virus.

Monkey-pox is an extremely rare viral disease similar to smallpox but less lethal with case fatality ranging between three and six percent.

Cases of Monkey-pox have been recorded in 12 countries that are not endemic for the virus.