The Ministry of Health and Child Care would like to warn the public and its stakeholders of an ongoing outbreak of monkeypox in 19 endemic and non-endemic countries within and outside Africa.
As of the 26th of May 2022, a total of 257 laboratory-confirmed cases and 120 suspected cases had been reported and zero deaths have been reported in non-endemic areas.
Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic disease endemic to Central and West Africa. The disease is not endemic in Zimbabwe. It spreads through close contact with people, animals or material infected with the virus. Symptoms of the disease include rash, fever, headache, muscle ache, swelling and back pain. The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox.
Currently, there is no proven treatment for monkeypox virus infection, but the disease is self-limiting (it resolves on its own within a few weeks). Despite the above the disease can be fatal with a case fatality rate of up to 6%.
Prevention and control measures.
• Avoiding contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead from unknown causes.
• Avoiding contact with any materials, such as bedding and clothing that has been in contact with a sick animal or person suspected to have monkeypox infection.
• Isolating suspected infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
• Practising good hand hygiene such as washing of hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Using personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for suspected patients.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care wishes to reassure the public that currently no cases have been reported in Zimbabwe, but it is monitoring the evolving situation of the outbreak in other countries with keen interest. The ministry has also placed its structures on high alert. Anyone who suspects that they have similar symptoms as that of monkeypox should report to the nearest health facility as soon as possible or call our toll-free line 2019 for assistance.
Ministry of Health and Child Care, Public Relations Department [email protected]