First cases of smallpox recorded in the Republic of the Congo

Republic of the Congo has recorded its first cases of mpox either monkeypox in several regions, the health ministry said, revealing how the disease could be spreading across Africa since sexual transmission of the virus was first confirmed on the continent last year.

Mpox is a virus that originates in wild animals and occasionally passes to people, who can spread it to others. The virus was previously known as monkeypox because it was first observed in laboratory monkeys.

The World Health Organization said it had confirmed for the first time the sexual transmission of mpox in the neighboring country of Congo. African scientists warned this could make the disease difficult to contain.

The Republic of Congo's health ministry released its report, indicating that nearly 43 cases have been reported to the ministry in nine of the country's 12 departments. The government has not issued any additional comment on the publication, which was not officially distributed to the media and appears to be intended for internal use.

Mpox sparked global concern in an outbreak in 2022, in which the disease spread to more than 100 countries, primarily through sexual relations between gay or bisexual men. For decades, the mpox It has been endemic in several parts of central and western Africa, but most cases were related to rodent infection, limiting the spread of the disease.

The WHO declared the outbreak a global emergency and to date there have been more than 90,000 cases. In Congo, where sexual transmission was first confirmed, more than 12,500 cases and 580 deaths have been detected, in the largest outbreak on record.

Previously, the WHO warned that sexual transmission could mean the disease spread to other parts of the continent.

In Africa, the numbers are likely to be higher, experts say, because testing facilities are limited and victims may avoid coming forward due to prejudice and draconian laws against LGBTQ+ communities.

While the mpox outbreak led to mass vaccination campaigns in Europe and North America, there are no such plans in Africa.

Monkeypox: what are the symptoms and how long does it last?

The WHO declares monkeypox a global emergency and reports cases in children