Zim on high alert for Monkeypox

The Government says they have put in place surveillance, laboratory testing, and case management measures in preparation for any potential monkey pox outbreak in the country.

Monkeypox has so far been detected in 42 countries and Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases as yet.

South Africa has recorded its second case of monkeypox in a 32-year-old male patient from Cape Town with no travel history.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said as of 22 June 2022, 3 413 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death have been reported in five regions.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.

However, the Centre for Disease and Prevention (CDC) said doctors diagnosing monkeypox should be on the lookout for symptoms that don’t quite match the typical description of the disease.

Speaking during the post-cabinet media briefing, Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvanga said there are no cases of monkeypox reported in Zimbabwe so far.

“The nation is informed that Cabinet also received a report on the global monkeypox outbreak that has so far been detected in 42 countries. The cabinet wishes to inform the public that there are no cases of monkeypox reported in Zimbabwe. The country has, however, put surveillance, laboratory testing, and case management measures in place in preparation for any potential outbreak,’ said Mutsvanga.

She said the public is however urged to put emphasis on the implementation of Public Health and Social Measures that are currently being used for Covid-19 such as regular washing of hands and social distancing since these measures have been proven to also work for monkeypox.

Mutsvanga said they will also take advantage of lessons learned from the Covid-19 responses and mount a strong monkey pox preparedness and response strategy.

“The Risk Communication Sub-Committee must immediately embark on a monkeypox information dissemination exercise,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Minister warned the public that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet.

“Zimbabwe should remain vigilant and strengthen Covid-19 testing at all levels. Provinces should come up with innovative strategies to increase vaccination coverage and focus on the elderly and those with underlying chronic health conditions. Implementation of all Covid-19 public health and social measures must be continued,” she said.

Mutsvanga said the country should remain vigilant, test more, vaccinate more, and prioritize those with underlying chronic medical conditions.

“Cabinet, therefore, calls upon all citizens that have not been vaccinated to present themselves for vaccination at centers nearest to them,” she said.   

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