WHO urges swift response as DRC hit by mutated mpox strain

The spread of mpox in Africa needs to be addressed urgently, the World Health Organization has warned, as more deaths were reported from a mutated strain of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, from the same family as smallpox, causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled lesions. Most cases are mild but it can also be deadly.

"There is a critical need to address the recent surge in mpox cases in Africa," Rosamund Lewis, the WHO's technical lead for mpox, told journalists on Tuesday.

A dangerous new strain of mpox was spreading quickly along the eastern border of the DRC and was "incredibly worrying", scientists warned separately.

A mutated version of the clade I mpox endemic in Congo for decades had fatality rates of around 5 percent in adults and 10 percent in children said biomedical engineer John Claude Udahemuka, who has been working on an outbreak in the hard-to-reach South Kivu province.

Hundreds dead

This year, roughly 8,600 mpox cases have been reported in the DRC with 410 deaths, Cris Kacita, the doctor in charge of operations in the country's mpox control programme, told Reuters last week.

It is also being spread by non-sexual contact in places including schools.

Read more on RFI English

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