Head of the Preventive Medicine Sector at the Ministry of Health, Amr Kandil, denied the existence of any suspected or existing cases of monkeypox infection in Egypt so far, Al Masry Al Youm reports.
Kandil added that no serious measures have been taken to curb the disease, yet the Preventive Medicine Sector is closely following the developments of the disease, and conducts assessments on a daily basis to determine the right procedures.
Monkeypox is not a new disease, as it was first discovered in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to a family of viruses called Orthopoxvirus that includes smallpox. As monkeypox is related to smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can provide protection, yet there is no available vaccine or treatments for monkeypox.
Initial symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle weakness, followed by swelling in the lymph nodes. This is followed by other symptoms that include a rash on the face and body, which can also take place inside the mouth.
On Sunday, 22 May, the Preventive Medicine Sector issued a circular to all health bodies and hospitals affiliated with the Ministry of Health regarding the disease, and protocols on how to prevent transmission of infection, symptoms, as well as infection control measures inside health facilities.
In a statement released on 20 May, the World Health Organization reported around 80 confirmed cases across 11 countries so far, along with 50 pending investigations.
The statement noted that the WHO is working with countries to expand disease surveillance, and to provide guidance on how to manage the disease.
As monkeypox mainly spreads through close contact, the WHO advised for responses to focus on the people affected and their close contacts, which means health workers, household members and sexual partners are at a higher risk for infection.