Several outbreaks of monkey pox in Africa have been contained during the Covid-19 pandemic while the world's attention was elsewhere, and outbreaks in Europe and the United States are a concern, Africa's top public health agency said on Thursday.
A handful of cases of the virus, which causes fever symptoms and a distinctive bumpy rash, have been reported or are suspected in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States.
The disease, which spreads through close contact and was first found in monkeys, mostly occurs in west and central Africa and only rarely spreads elsewhere.
The acting director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said that since 2020 outbreaks had been seen and contained in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African Republic.
Ahmed Ogwell Ouma told a weekly news briefing:
"We are however concerned at the multiple countries outside, especially in Europe, that are seeing these outbreaks of monkey pox. It would be very useful for knowledge to be shared regarding what the source of these outbreaks actually are," he said.
"We are in close contact with our counterparts at the European CDC to try and understand where that did come from because when you see monkey pox in environments that are far away from a forested area then for sure as far as public health is concerned it raises a lot of questions."
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