BY NOMALANGA KABANZI
HEALTH experts say there is no reason Zimbabweans to panic over the outbreak of monkeypox, and that current COVID-19 preventive measures also apply to safeguard against the transmittable disease.
Monkeypox is an infection caused by a virus that is in the same family as the smallpox virus.
It is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
It is far less severe than smallpox, though it causes a similar illness that involves flu-like symptoms and a rash accompanied by lesions
Epidemiologist, Grant Murewanhema said people should rely on trusted sources on the disease.
“People should not rely on social media. They should search for World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Social media can be misleading like the issue when people could not be vaccinated because they had read that it was Satanic,” Murewanhema said.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said this was not the first time monkeypox had been detected.
“The recent cases in Europe and North America have renewed our concern regarding the threat of monkeypox in Zimbabwe and the southern African region given the business travel and tourism activities between our regions,” Rusike said.
WHO has said the virus can also spread by touching or sharing infected items like clothing and bedding, or by the respiratory droplets produced by sneezing or coughing.
COVID-19 national taskforce chief co-ordinator Agnes Mahomva said Zimbabwe was prepared for new pandemics, having learnt lessons from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“COVID-19 surprised us, but it has enabled us to strengthen our health system when it comes to viruses. Therefore, Zimbabwe’s health system is prepared for different kinds of viruses, including monkeypox,” Mahomva told NewsDay Weekender.
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