Africa’s top health official said the continent was preparing to receive the first batch of Monkey pox vaccines as a donation from South Korea.
The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday 50,000 doses will be used first for healthcare workers and people in the hardest-hit areas. There is no date when the cans will arrive.
This year, the continent recorded 202 deaths from monkeypox with a mortality rate of 19.3% in 13 countries.
For months, however, African health officials have been searching for vaccines, mostly in vain, as large outbreaks were first reported in wealthy western countries.
Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found 51 new cases of smallpox in Congo last week and said Ghana and Nigeria were the worst-hit countries.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease (a virus transmitted from animals to humans) with symptoms similar to those seen in smallpox patients in the past, although clinically less severe.
With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and the subsequent discontinuation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox has become the most important public health orthopoxvirus.
Monkeypox is primarily found in central and western Africa, often near rainforests, and is increasingly being seen in urban areas. Host animals include a variety of rodents and non-human primates.