A monkeypox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) has claimed 10 lives, while 141 people have been infected so far, local media reported on Tuesday.
“From the first week of surveillance until the 33rd, we recorded 141 confirmed cases, with 10 deaths,” Dr. Aime Alengo, a health official in Sankuru province told the local Actualite news website.
Alengo said the disease affects those who are mostly less than 5 years old. “We are one of a few countries in Africa that still have cases of this disease.”
In its Health Emergencies Bulletin on Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region said: “One major challenge to the current emergency includes acquiring the required funding to respond to all the multiple ongoing outbreaks in the country.”
Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to smallpox. While smallpox was eradicated in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in countries of Central and West Africa.
Monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, but human-to-human transmission also occurs, according to WHO.
The Central African country is also battling measles and the coronavirus pandemic.
In week 32 (week ending Aug. 9, 2020), 418 measles cases — including seven deaths were reported across the country.
The provinces that reported the majority of cases include Sankuru and South Ubangi.
The high fatality ratio was notified in Maniema and Sankuru. Since 2019 a total of 380,766 measles cases and 7,018 deaths have been reported in the country, according to the WHO Africa office.