July 13, 2024

DRC: Concerns mount in Democratic Republic of Congo as 25 cases of deadly Mpox strain found in Goma refugee camp

A new strain of mpox has emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with at least 25 cases identified in Goma, mainly in refugee camps.

The outbreak adds to the country’s ongoing mpox crisis, which has seen over 20,000 cases and 1,000 deaths since January 2023.

This year alone, 11,000 cases and 443 deaths have been reported, predominantly affecting children.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has authorised vaccine use to combat the mpox outbreak, but supplies are currently only available through clinical trials.

According to Cris Kacita, head of the national response team, the new cases are primarily occurring in displacement camps, and a new strain of the virus is circulating in South Kivu province, with Goma, the capital of neighbouring North Kivu province, being affected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and scientists have sounded the alarm about the deteriorating mpox situation in the DRC, where a new strain of the virus is spreading in South Kivu province.

Mpox, a viral infection that spreads through close contact and causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled lesions, has been present in Congo for decades, but a new variant emerged last year. While most cases are mild, mpox can be deadly, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

The WHO explained that common symptoms of mpox include a rash which may last for 2–4 weeks. This may start with, or be followed by, fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy and swollen glands (lymph nodes). The rash looks like blisters or sores, and can affect the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, groin, genital and/or anal regions. These lesions may also be found in the mouth, throat, anus, rectum or vagina, or on the eyes. The number of sores can range from one to several thousand.

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