ETHIOPIA – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has published key recommendations for management of monkeypox disease in the continent as well as crucial precautionary measures and symptom detection guidelines amid global outbreak.

The specialized public health institution of the African Union (AU) advised AU Member States (MS) to initiate and strengthen laboratory diagnostic capacity as well as scale up genomic sequencing in Africa to track orthopoxviruses including monkeypox.

Member States were directed to introduce and distribute both general and tailored risk communication messages for the community at large as well as specific populations currently impacted and at risk such as sex-workers, immunocompromised individuals and children.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis belonging to the Poxviridae family, the same viral family that caused smallpox, that can be transmitted via direct contact with infected body fluids or lesion material from humans or animals or indirect contact with contaminated material.

in addition , African Union Member States have been encouraged to join global efforts to strengthen knowledge of monkeypox clinical management and infection prevention control measures across all cadres of health workers to support a more comprehensive assessment of the public health risk.

Member states of the African Union have been urged to establish and build on existing monkeypox surveillance efforts including cross-border surveillance since monkeypox remains a public health emergency in affected African countries and is a high-risk pathogen for other neighboring countries.

Africa CDC announced that the re-emergence of monkeypox has seen 1,715 patients experiencing a range of symptoms including 1,636 suspected cases and 79 confirmed cases as well as 73 deaths reported since the beginning of 2022 from eight endemic and two non-endemic AU Member States.

Africa CDC warned that tools required to contain the expanding outbreak include diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics which are currently not easily accessible to AU MS while technical and financial resources required to effectively respond to monkeypox in Africa are not yet optimally mobilized.

The public agency assured that more tools for monkeypox response will be made available in Africa so as to ensure that the outbreak does not spread further nor grow more severe ,noting that AU MS, partners and friends of Africa should support the monkeypox emergency support efforts across the continent.

Nevertheless, the continental public health agency reaffirmed its commitment to monitor the situation of monkeypox on the continent and globally along with supporting AU MS in their efforts to strengthen surveillance systems in-country and across borders.

The Africa CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response Division has engaged the Ministry of Health of at least four Member states of the African Union including Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, DRC and Nigeria to identify areas of potential support.

Additionally, the Africa CDC Laboratory Division is working closely with the Nigerian CDC and African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) to train 20 AU MSs on monkeypox virus diagnostics in Abuja, Nigeria from 28th June – 30th June 2022.

The Africa CDC Regional Collaborating Center for Central Africa Region is also providing technical support to the Gabonese Ministry of Health for the development of a preparedness and response plan between 27th June – 30th June 2022 in Libreville, Gabon.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations 2005 Emergency Committee discussed the ongoing multi-country monkeypox outbreak and agreed that the current multi-country outbreak does not constitute a Public Emergency of International Concern at the moment.

The IHR Emergency Committee noted that the current multi-country monkeypox outbreak has downward trends in case numbers from the countries experiencing earlier outbreaks coupled with low severity of cases including low mortality and hospitalization rates.

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