ACTING Minister of Health Charles Milupi says Zambia has not recorded any case of monkeypox, but cautions that health workers, household members and sexual partners would be at greater risk of exposure and infection as the outbreak spreads through close contact.
And Milupi says an unprecedented 845,808 COVID-19 doses have been administered across the country in the last 8 days since the relaunch of the vaccination campaign.
During a media briefing yesterday, Milupi said the Zambia National Public Health Institute was already actively understanding the nature of the current outbreak and putting in place surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, prevention and response strategies.
“COVID-19 is not the only disease threatening our global health security. Recently we note monkeypox disease being detected in so far, fifteen (15) non-endemic countries across Europe, Australia, Canada and part of the Americas. As of May 21, 2022, the WHO reported 92 confirmed cases so far, and 28 pending investigations. More cases are likely to be reported as surveillance expands. The World Health Organisation and partners through many scientists are working to better understand the extent and cause of this current outbreak of monkeypox. Heightened disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected, and to provide guidance on how to manage the disease is the response strategy employed so far. Furthermore, it is worth noting that vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. However, newer vaccines are being developed among which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox. In addition, an antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox,” he said.
“Let me state here that monkeypox spreads differently from COVID-19. As monkeypox spreads through close contact, the response should focus on the people affected and their close contacts. One who closely interacts with a person who is infectious when exposed to lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding are at greater risk of contracting the disease. Commonly, health workers, household members and sexual partners would be at greater risk of exposure and infection. Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. It is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3-6%. Zambia has not recorded any case of monkeypox. Our Disease intelligence agency, the Zambia National Public Health Institute is already actively understanding the nature of the current outbreak and putting in place surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, prevention and response strategies. Furthermore, risk communication and community engagement plans will be adapted.”
And Milupi said the country in the just ended week recorded 519 new COVID-19 cases, compared to 501 the previous week, representing a 4 percent increase.
“Government is elated over the pace at which the public is responding to the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. It remains important that we get all eligible persons vaccinated against this deadly disease that has cost many lives and livelihoods. Since the relaunch of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign on 14th May 2022, an unprecedented 845,808 COVID-19 doses have been administered across the country in the last 8 days. While we move towards the target 70% vaccination coverage, we must be reminded that it is still possible to get COVID-19 and spread it to others after being vaccinated. Please continue to do everything you can to keep yourself and others safe from severe COVID-19 disease and related deaths. A point to note is that if you do get COVID-19 after vaccination, you are more likely to have mild or no symptoms than if you had not been vaccinated,” said Milupi.
“In the just ended week, we recorded 519 new cases, compared to 501 the previous week, representing a 4% increase. Sadly, we recorded two deaths, both individuals were unvaccinated at the time of their death. We continue to commiserate with all families who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. In the last 24 hours we recorded 49 new cases out of 997 tests conducted countrywide.”