Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have recorded more than 1 200 cases of Monkeypox and 58 deaths since the beginning of this year.
The viral disease has spread to 19 provinces across the vast country that is grappling with other diseases like Ebola, measles and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical experts say most of the monkeypox cases in the DRC have been recorded in the central, northern and northwestern parts of the country.
The outbreak has been ongoing in the northwestern province of Equateur since 2020. The province is also battling an Ebola outbreak.
Monkeypox cases in DRC:
Congolese doctors are working with international experts to identify cases in order to prevent the disease from spreading.
Dr Chris Kacita says, “We now have 19 provinces that have recorded cases of Monkeypox. We are carrying out investigations to reinforce the capacity of health workers battling the disease in different provinces. The government has put in place measures to stop the disease from spreading.”
People travelling from provinces with cases of monkeypox are being screened and the public has been urged to report suspected cases.
Scientists say the disease is transmitted to humans from wild animals.
The first case of Monkeypox was discovered in the DRC in 1970.
The disease is common in the forested areas of central and west Africa.
But several cases of monkeypox have recently been reported in North America and Europe.
The World Health Organisation says the identification of confirmed cases with no direct travel links to endemic countries represents a highly unusual event.
Symptoms of the disease include headache, fever and a skin rash.
Health experts have ramped up surveillance and vaccination campaigns against Monkeypox following the global outbreak. -Reporting by Chris Ocamringa in Kinshasa