John Mangwiro

The government of Zimbabwe has activated health response systems to keep track of and detect monkeypox in the country, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro said.

“As Government, we are on the lookout for this. We have very strong surveillance systems. We have EHTs (Environmental Health Technicians) who specifically check out these symptoms.”Dr Mangwiro said.

He also went on to say blood samples will be taken from people, time and again, to make sure that they do not miss it.

Monkeypox is an infectious viral disease that can occur in humans and some animals. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that forms blisters.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is in the process of procuring thousands of monkeypox tests for Africa.

World Health Organization is not recommending mass vaccination at this stage. WHO Africa director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said the continent should be prepared for vaccination if the need arises.

According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the continent has documented close to 1 600 suspected cases of monkeypox, with 66 deaths, this year.

Nigeria reports about 3,000 monkeypox cases a year, WHO said. Outbreaks are usually in rural areas when people have close contact with infected rats and squirrels.

Experts have stressed they do not know if the disease is being spread through sex or other close contact related to sex.