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Congo Republic declares Mpox epidemic

Congo Republic declares Mpox epidemic

Republic of the Congo has declared an epidemic of Mpox after 19 cases were confirmed across five departments, including the capital Brazzaville.

No deaths have yet been recorded, Health Minister Gilbert Mokoki said in a statement on Tuesday.

He called on the public to take precautions including avoiding close contact with suspected cases, avoiding contact with animals and avoiding handling game meat with bare hands.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the virus mpox to replace the older term monkeypox, citing concerns of stigma and racism associated with the name.

Mpox was first detected in humans in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, according to the WHO.

Symptoms include fever, aches and skin lesions.

In 2022, the WHO declared an outbreak that spread to Europe and North America a global health emergency.

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Overview of Mpox Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It presents with symptoms such as a rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and can lead to complications in some cases. The virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the Poxviridae family and has two genetic clades: clade I and clade II. Mpox can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, animal-to-human contact, or contact with contaminated materials.

Transmission of Mpox Mpox can spread through various means including direct contact with infectious skin lesions or mucosal surfaces, respiratory droplets, and close personal contact. Person-to-person transmission occurs through activities like touching, kissing, or sexual contact. Animal-to-human transmission can happen through bites or scratches from infected animals or during activities like hunting or cooking them. Additionally, mpox can be contracted from contaminated objects such as clothing or needles.

Signs and Symptoms of Mpox Common symptoms of mpox include rash, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. The rash typically progresses through stages of macules, papules, vesicles, and pustules before crusting over and healing. Some individuals may experience complications such as skin infections or pneumonia. People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from mpox.

Discovery and History of Mpox The monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys used for research purposes. The first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mpox is believed to have originated from African rodents and non-human primates. In 2022, a global outbreak of mpox occurred primarily due to Clade IIb virus. The World Health Organization renamed the disease to adhere to modern naming guidelines.

Prevention of Mpox Preventive measures for mpox include avoiding close contact with infected individuals or animals carrying the virus, practicing good hygiene, and considering vaccination where recommended by healthcare providers. Individuals at higher risk for severe disease should take extra precautions to protect themselves from mpox.

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