According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Democratic Republic of Congo has reported 2,523 cases of monkeypox, including 66 deaths, from 1 January to 8 August 2021. In 2020, a total of 6,257 suspected cases, including 229 deaths, were reported from 17 out of 26 provinces in the country.
Monkeypox occurs mainly in forested areas of Central and West Africa. Most infections result from direct contact with infected animals, primarily primates and rodents, though person-to-person transmission can occur. Symptoms in humans commence with fever and a flu-like illness followed by the development of a skin rash.
Advice for travellers
Monkeypox is an uncommon zoonotic infection that is rarely seen in travellers. However, travellers to Central and West Africa should:
- observe meticulous hand hygiene if visiting or caring for ill friends and relatives
- avoid contact with primates and rodents and avoid consuming undercooked meat from these sources
- wear protective clothing, including gloves, if involved in the slaughter or care of animals in these regions
A vaccine against monkeypox is not widely available. Previous smallpox vaccination is protective.
Further advice and information on monkeypox is available on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) website.
Source: TRAVAX, 7 September 2021