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Monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

23 May 2018

On 18 May 2018 the World Health Organisation Link reported 1 210 suspected cases (28 deaths) of monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the first 16 weeks of 2018.

Suspected cases have been reported from 14 provinces, with Sankuru Province having an unusually high number of suspected cases (309) in 2018.

Advice to Travellers

Monkeypox is a rare infection related to smallpox. It resembles the less severe variola minor form of smallpox and has the potential to befatal in a minority of cases. Monkeypox is unusual in travellers and tends to occur in isolated rural or forest areas.

Nearly all cases have occurred in Central or West Africa, with only a few cases ever reported outside Africa. Most infections result from direct contact with the blood, body fluids, or cutaneous/ mucosal lesions of infected animals including monkeys, giant rats, squirrels and rabbits. Rodents are the major source of infection. Eating undercooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.