Kenya Gives Update on Monkeypox, Viral Disease Spreading Globally

  • Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache addesses the press
    Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache addresses the press in May, 2020
    Ministry of Health
  • The government of Kenya on Wednesday, May 25, announced it was on high alert to detect any cases of Monkeypox, the viral disease that has been spreading globally.

    Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache told the media that no case had been reported in the country with heightened surveillance at all entry points.

    She added that Kenya was prepared and well equipped to detect and respond should any such case be discovered. 

    An image of Susan Mochache
    Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache speaking at a past event.

    “We have nothing to fear, we are going to use the same surveillance mechanisms we used during Covid19 to respond to the monkeypox outbreak. We have the capacity to test," she reiterated.

    The disease is mainly spread through close skin to skin from the lesions of the person suffering the condition. It has mainly spread in Europe and North America. 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease has an incubation period of between seven to 14 days. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes.

    The patients then develop lesions (a rash) which break out on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. It then advances to macules, papules, vesicles, pustules and scrabs before falling off.

    Although its symptoms are almost similar to those of Coronavirus, it spreads less rapidly, has a short life span and has a lower mortality rate.

    "The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks. In Africa, Monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease," CDC explains.

    Kenyans have been advised to avoid contact with people suspected to be infected or animals, practise good hygiene and use personal protective equipment when dealing with patients.

    According to Google, the disease topped the search list among Kenyans. Notably, it also sparked debate over the use of images of Africans by international media, which was seen as racial discrimination.

    The Monkeypox virus was first discovered in Central Africa with the first human case reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in1970. The disease has since spread to other countries in the world.

    According to the World Health Organization, at least 250 suspected cases of monkeypox from 16 countries have been reported.

    Maria van Kerkhove, an expert with WHO describes monkeypox outbreak as "containable situation" with experts ruling out a likelihood of seeing lockdown around the world.

    Medical practitioners in protective gear at the Coronavirus Isolation facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Medical practitioners in protective gear at the Coronavirus Isolation facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    death suspect