Morocco and Sudan are investigating suspected cases of monkeypox, Africa’s health body says.

This comes after outbreaks of the virus have recently been found in Europe, Australia, America and the Middle East.

Monkeypox is usually associated with travel to central or West Africa, near tropical forests, but some of the new cases have no travel link.

During his weekly briefing, Dr Ahmed Ogwell, deputy director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC), confirmed there was still no direct link.

He said the continent had so far reported 1,405 cases and 62 monkeypox-related deaths this year - a case fatality rate of 4.4%

These have occurred in four countries where the disease is endemic: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Dr Ogwell said all African countries were advised to scale up surveillance and testing.

Monkeypox, a mild viral infection, can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person.

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles - and a rash can develop once the fever breaks.

It is thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.

“The washing of hands is very important as it is a contact-spread disease,” Dr Ogwell said.

He also advised people to avoid touching animals that looked sick and those known to be carriers.

Smallpox vaccines were being administered in Africa, Dr Ogwell said.

“The available supplies of smallpox vaccines will be prioritised to health workers and areas with confirmed cases of the virus,” he said.


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