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S. Sudan on alert as Congo, Sudan record monkeypox cases

Authors: James Atem Kuir | Chany Ninrew | Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Test tubes labelled "Monkeypox virus positive and negative" are seen in this illustration taken May 23, 2022. |Courtesy of Reuters.

South Sudan has stepped up surveillance at the northern border after the first case of Monkeypox was confirmed in Sudan late Sunday.

The Sudanese Ministry of Health said in a statement, that a 16-year-old student was confirmed sick with the disease in West Darfur state.

The World Health Organization (WHO) last week declared a global health emergency over the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.

The virus has affected over 16,000 people in 75 countries since May, according to WHO statistics.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s health official said no case of monkeypox has so far been recorded, dismissing rumors of the presence of the disease in the country.

Dr John Rumunu, the Health Ministry’s Director General for Preventive Health Services, told Eye Radio that seven suspected cases of the disease have been investigated, but none tested positive.

“South Sudan doesn’t have monkey pox but we are doing surveillance and have case definition and using the case definition the health facility could raise alerts,” said Rumunu.

“Depending on the case definition, alerts are raised on suspected cases and when such alerts are raised, we send our rapid response team to go and verify, investigate and bring the sample if the case meets the case description.”

In recent days, undated pictures of persons with skin rashes have been shared across various social media, with users alleging they had been taken in the country.

The rumors, now branded as fake news, engineered panics as neighboring countries of Sudan and DR Congo reported their cases.

Dr Rumunu, however, warned the public against spreading rumors about the outbreak saying it would lead to public anxiety.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox disease spread mostly through close, intimate contact with the disease.

Monkeypox is a virus that causes disease with similar but less severe symptoms to smallpox, including a fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Human-to-human transmission is limited, but it can be passed through contact with bodily fluids, skin lesions, or internal surfaces such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.


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