Mw on Monkeypox Alert Following Outbreak in Other Countries
The Ministry of Health says it is monitoring with keen interest the situation on the outbreak of Monkeypox in some affected countries in Europe, America and Asia to prevent the disease from spreading to Malawi.
Spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe told us they are using approved surveillance and response systems besides screening travelers and have devised means to manage suspected cases.
“We are using the World Health Organization (WHO) approved Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and the International Health Regulations (IHR) to monitor the situation,” said Chikumbe.
He added that the ministry is screening all travels and has put in place measures to manage those suspected to be infected from emerging diseases such as Covid-19 and monkeypox and that the country already has treatment centers for such diseases.
"The good thing is that the monkeypox is caused by a virus just like Covid-19 so we use the same tests like PCR and we should be able to detect it as well."
In a statement issued yesterday, Secretary for Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo said the ministry through WHO has received reports of monkeypox cases in 16 countries where 250 cases have so far been reported.
In the statement, Mwansambo also provided information on signs and symptoms and ways for preventing spread of the disease.
Just like Covid-19, monkeypox has no proven, safe treatment, however clinical care is conducted on patients to alleviate symptoms, manage complications and prevent long-term sequelae.
Health expert Professor Adamson Muula has commended the ministry for informing the public about the disease and providing guidance on how to prevent its spread.
However, he advises health authorities to strengthen public health response systems arguing it is difficult to keep the disease away from Malawi.
Said Professor Muula, “these are disease that start from one country and then spread to other countries largely because of our global travels, its very difficult to prevent entry of these diseases.”
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis disease transmitted from animals to humans, with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients (but monkeypox is clinically less severe).
Transmission occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human or contaminated materials. The virus enters the body through broken skin, respiratory track or mucous membranes.
The disease whose signs and symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle aches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion can be prevented through frequent hand washing with soap or using hand sanitizers, covering mouth and nose with a mask and keeping a social distance with those affected.