BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
GOVERNMENT has been urged to be vigilant after over 80 monkeypox cases were detected in 12 European countries.
Monkeypox is a viral infection mostly common in central and west Africa.
Cases have, however, been reported in European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, among others.
The disease, first found in monkeys, does not spread easily between people, but can be transmitted through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse, according to official health data.
While monkeypox outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, there has not been a single case recorded on the continent during this current outbreak.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the monkeypox virus could worsen the country’s already stretched health system, hence the need to stop it from infecting locals.
“It can easily come our way now that there are no COVID-19 travel restrictions,” Rusike said.
“Zimbabweans generally love travelling, and we may need to put some preventive and control measures by monitoring and screening those coming from the affected countries including contact tracing to those with a recent travel history to the affected countries,” he added.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said: “The issue is being exaggerated because it has affected the Western world. We have had cases before. In 2020, DRC recorded over 4 000 cases, but the issue was not given attention because people were concerned with COVID-19. However, we must not let our guard down.”
Official monkeypox health protocols require anyone suspected or at high risk of having the virus to self-isolate for 21 days.
Symptoms include high temperature, aches and a rash of raised spots that later turn into blisters, but are typically mild and for most people clear up within two to four weeks, according to the World Health Organisation.
Monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the DRC.
Efforts to get a comment from the Health ministry were in vain as both deputy minister John Mangwiro and ministry secretary Jasper Chimedza were not picking calls.
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