While monkey pox cases are now being reported in other parts of the world,the Ministry of Health is confident it will not become an issue in Uganda.
According to Dr. Henry Mwebesa, who is director-general of health services at the Health Ministry, there’s no need for panic.
Mwebesa furthermore revealed that monkeypox has been in the East African region for years and as such is not a new disease.
“Monkeypox is endemic in DRC and in all that time, it has never been a cause of worry for Uganda, our people should not panic, there’s no cause for worry,” Mwebesa said.
Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, the commissioner in charge of public health at the ministry of health says Uganda has immunity to the disease. He says with the free entry and exit of Congolese nationals in the country, it is possible that Ugandans already have immunity to the disease.
Despite this rise in cases in DRC and the alarm that the World Health Organization, has raised regarding the disease, Kyabayinze has appealed to the public to adhere to health precautions. According to Kyabayinze, being cautious will help ensure that the country doesn’t report any cases.
“We have never had a monkeypox problem but if we do, the COVID-19 public health preventive measures are enough. Avoiding crowded places where you can come into contact with infected people is one of the measures that cuts across,” he said.
Monkey Pox is a viral disease transmitted from animals to humans that is caused by the monkey pox virus. The disease belongs to the same family as the eradicated smallpox disease and is common in wild animals like primates but can infect humans through contact. Monkeypox is endemic in four African countries including neighbouring DRC, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.
According to reports from the World Health Organisation, over 200 cases of the disease have been reported from more than 80 countries. The majority of the cases have been reported from communities where men have sex with fellow men. Many of the victims are men aged 20-50 years of age.
The incubation period for monkeypox ranges from 5 to 21 days. The disease manifests itself through fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of an infected person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels, but usually clears up after two to four weeks, according to health officials.