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A test tube labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" are seen in this illustration photo taken May 22 2022. Picture: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC
A test tube labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" are seen in this illustration photo taken May 22 2022. Picture: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

Ninety-two global cases of monkeypox, says the World Health Organization. Another epidemic so soon? It is worth paraphrasing US president Joe Biden, who said “everybody should be concerned”.

So far hardly a word from the department of health or National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). Should we be concerned about this outbreak, or the silence from those in authority?

We know little about this outbreak. What drives it? Rudimentary information about monkeypox — it is a zoonotic infection, the  first outbreak being reported in the early 1970s in Africa, mainly around the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Human-to-human transmission has been attributed to lack of vaccination. It spreads via skin contact, body fluids and droplets. The majority of cases in Europe, Australia and the US presented with a distinctive rash and fever. It can be fatal.

Why are we seeing this current outbreak? Is our public health ready for this new disease on the heels of Covid-19? Should we start giving the smallpox vaccine to adults?  Should hospitals admit suspected cases ? How do we protect the public?

We need guidance from the department of health and NICD.

Dr Lucas Ntyintyane,Via email

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