New mpox strain in DR Congo ‘most dangerous yet’ – Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

New mpox strain in DR Congo ‘most dangerous yet’

A new strain of the mpox virus spreading quickly along the eastern border of Democratic Republic of Congo is “incredibly worrying”, say health officials monitoring its spread.

The virus, which can cause lesions across the whole body, is making some people very ill and can be deadly.

The current outbreak has been driven by sexual transmission but there is evidence this strain can also be passed on through close skin-to-skin contact.

Global health experts say the new variant risks cross-border and international spread of the virus, with one calling it the “most dangerous strain yet”.

A worldwide epidemic of mpox in 2022 was brought under control by vaccinating vulnerable groups.

But there is poor access to vaccines and treatments in DR Congo and local health officials are warning the virus could reach other countries.

“The disease can go through airports. A person with lesions can go through borders because there are no controls,” said Leandre Murhula Masirika, at the health department in South Kivu province – one of the worst affected areas in DR Congo.

“I’m very afraid it’s going to cause more damage.”

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