Ethiopia heightens surveillance for monkeypox


This 2003 electron microscope image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions. /CFP

Ethiopia has heightened surveillance for monkeypox although no cases have been detected in the country so far, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute said Wednesday.

Screening on passengers arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and refugees entering the country has been intensified, and screening and surveillance measures are taking place at 20 entry and exit border areas, said Mesay Hailu, director general of the institute, noting there is a high possibility for the disease to occur in Ethiopia.

About 50 laboratories have been set up across the country to detect the virus, said Hailu, while acknowledging the shortage of testing kits due to stretched global supply chains.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on July 23.

Over 18,000 monkeypox cases have been reported to the WHO from 78 countries. More than 70 percent of these came from the European region and 25 percent from the Americas.

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