Since the beginning of 2022, 1,715 cases (1,636 suspected; 79 confirmed) and 73 deaths (CFR: 4.3%) of monkeypox have been reported from eight endemic and two non-endemic African Union (AU) Member States (MS), according to the African CDC today.
This includes Benin (3 cases, 0 deaths), Cameroon (28, 2), Central African Republic (17, 2), Republic of Congo (7, 3), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1439, 67), Ghana (12, 0), Nigeria (162 suspected, 41 confirmed, 1 death) and South Africa (1, 0), according to World Health Organization data (numbers differ slightly from Africa CDC numbers).
During the period of the COVID-19 pandemic (February 2020 to date), Africa has documented 12,141 cases and 363 deaths (CFR 3%) of monkeypox. The number of cases has continued to rise on the continent.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis belonging to the Poxviridae family (the same viral family that caused smallpox). The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The virus is thought to be maintained primarily in wild rodent populations.
Monkeypox can be transmitted via direct contact with infected body fluids or lesion material from humans or animals, or indirect contact with contaminated material. Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets. Symptoms typically include fever, headache, malaise, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed a few days later by a rash. Complications of monkeypox infections include secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and infection of the cornea with ensuing loss of vision. Immunocompromised persons may progress to severe forms. For survivors, long term complications are most commonly scarring or skin pigmentation changes, but rarely eye involvement can cause loss of vision.