The country has intensified its surveillance for monkey-pox following the continued outbreak of the disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighbouring countries.
Monkey-pox is a viral zoonotic disease spread from animals to human beings. The disease is transmitted from one person to another through close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as beddings.
The disease which can also be transmitted by eating inadequately cooked meat from an infected animal is endemic in at least eight African countries including DRC, Nigeria, Cameroon and Namibia.
Although no case of the disease has been reported in Uganda, there is an increase in cases being reported in more than 23 countries worldwide, including neighbouring Kenya.
The Director-General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health says that even if the country is not at risk, it’s important to take precautions.
According to the Ministry of Health, the government, as part of its preparedness mode is strengthening testing capabilities at Uganda Virus Research Institute and intensifying health worker surveillance on suspected cases.
The Health Ministry is also carrying out stakeholder engagements with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies like the Wildlife Authority to enable surveillance of the disease among animals.
“The Ministry of Health is working with partners to closely monitor the evolving situation of the outbreak of Monkey-pox in different parts of the world and the public is encouraged to remain vigilant and report any suspected patient to the nearest health worker,” Dr Mwebesa said.
The incubation period of the disease ranges from six to 13-days according to scientists. It’s estimated that 3-6 per cent of infected cases succumb to the disease.
Some of the common signs and symptoms associated with the disease include fever, rash, intense headache, back pain, muscle aches and body weakness. Also swelling of the lymph nodes might occur. The most vulnerable groups are children and people with low immunity.
Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, the director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health urges people to adhere to the ongoing Public Health Measures.
“We are not at risk but we need to take precautions. From what we know, the public health measures like wearing masks and avoiding public gatherings work. So if we apply these, we shall be okay,” he said.