Human Monkey Pox Epidemic: Epidemiology, Characteristics and Public Health Implications - Cameroon, May-June 2018

  • Zoonotic
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Background:
On April 30th 2018, two suspected Monkey pox (Mpx) cases were notified from Njikwa Health District (HD) in the North-West region. Preliminary investigations revealed other suspected cases (SC) from Akwaya HD in the South- West region. Both HDs are facing security crises and share borders with Nigerian states which reported confirmed Mpx cases on January 2018. We conducted an investigation to confirm the epidemic and initiate prevention and control measures.
Methods:
We conducted a cross-sectional study in May 2018 in Njikwa and Akwaya HDs. We collected data on sociodemo-graphic characteristics, clinical signs, contact with sick animals/human cases and travel information. Active community case search based on reviewed registers in health facilities was done and contact tracing was initiated. A SC was anyone living in Njikwa or Akwaya presenting with fever (≥38, 5 ̊C) and rash with/without headache, lymphadenopathy as from January 20th to the date of investigation. A confirmed case was anyone with a positive laboratory exam (PCR), and a contact was any asymptomatic person having contact with a case. “Centre Pasteur of Cameroon” analysed blood samples and skin biopsies collected from cases. We analysed data using Microsoft Excel 2013 and EPI INFO 7.
Results:
Of 25 SC reviewed, only a 20 years old student/hunter living in Njikwa HD was still presenting active lesions. Women represented 24 % (6/25), pupils/students 64% (16/25), and health staff 8% (2/25). Previous contact with an ill person before disease onset was recorded in 56% (14/25). No recent contact with a sick animal or travel was reported. Of 16/25 blood samples and skin swaps collected, Mpx virus (West African Strain similar to Nigeria) was isolated in a case. We identified 61 contacts who were not traced.
Conclusion
A Mpx case was confirmed in Njikwa HD. The source was not identified and contact tracing not done. We recommend a large-scale investigation with the support of law enforcement and sensitization of the population.

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