Africa faces shortage of smallpox tests and vaccines

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Africa does not have smallpox vaccines and testing kits are in short supply, the acting director of the continent’s main public health agency said on Thursday.

Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions. It is endemic in parts of Africa.

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More than 40 countries where smallpox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease that spreads by close contact and was first found in monkeys.

“Both of these tools are really needed on the continent,” Ahmed Ogwell Ouma of Africa’s African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told a news conference.

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“Smallpox is an emergency here on the mainland and we ask all our friends and partners to join us in controlling this outbreak,” he said.

Ouma also said that at least nine different coronavirus vaccines are in development on the mainland.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled last Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

The number of monkeypox cases in Brazil rises to 22

The state health department of Minas Gerais confirmed, this Wednesday (29), the first case of monkeypox in the state. The patient has a recent travel history to Europe. There are still three suspected cases under investigation in the state.

With that, the total number of confirmed infections in the country goes to 22, according to a survey by the CNN .

Earlier, Rio de Janeiro confirmed the fifth case in the state. According to the State Department of Health (SES) of Rio, the state has already recorded 26 suspected cases of the disease, and five of them have been confirmed. Three patients reside in the capital of Rio de Janeiro.

Seventeen cases were discarded and four are still under investigation. “Confirmed and suspected cases are monitored daily by the SES and the Health Surveillance teams of the municipalities”, informed the SES, in a note.

“Importantly, although the disease was first identified in monkeys, the current outbreak is not related to these animals”, concluded the Secretariat.

Brazil has already confirmed 21 cases of monkeypox: 14 in São Paulo, two in Rio Grande do Sul, and five in Rio de Janeiro.

Last Friday (24), the Ministry of Health had warned that two cases in Rio de Janeiro and three in São Paulo are considered autochthonous, that is, the infections happened by local transmission. Patients had no history of travel abroad.

Brazil still has 28 cases under investigation: Ceará (4), Rio de Janeiro (4), Santa Catarina (1), Acre (3), Rio Grande do Sul (6), Federal District (1), Espírito Santo (1), Minas Gerais (3), Rio Grande do Norte (1), Goiás (1) and Paraná (3).

Source: CNN Brasil

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