Following news that South Africa has recorded their first confirmed case of monkey pox the Ministry of Health says it is keeping an eye on all developments about the disease.
So far Botswana has not recorded any monkey pox case. In an interview, the ministry spokesperson, Christopher Nyanga said the ministry of health advises Batswana and residents of the country to visit the nearest health facility when they experience any unusual symptoms.
“This is even more critical for those who experience symptoms after travelling to countries known to have monkey pox cases,” he said. According to WHO Monkeypox is caused by monkey pox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%. “Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding,” WHO explains.
It is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions. WHO explains that an antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox. In addition, it explains that the clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles. Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The rash, which can be extremely itchy or painful, changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off. The lesions can cause scarring.