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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Monkeypox in Democratic Republic of Congo

17 Mar 2017

On the 15 March 2017 the mediareported on the outbreak of monkeypox in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Congolese Ministry of Health and Population are reported to have advised that during the first 2 months 0f 2017 the outbreak affected 19 people and killed 7 in the Likouala province.

The outbreak is believed to have originated in Betou district on 16 January 2017 when a male hunter developed the illness. Subsequent cases then emerged from three other districts between 27 January and 28 February 2017.

Advice for Travellers

Monkeypox virus infection is a low risk for most travellers as it occurs most commonly in remote, rural, rainforest villages. Monkeypox is a sporadic zoonotic infection similar to modified smallpox and is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal or by handling the animal’s blood, body fluids or lesions.

Animals include monkeys, squirrels, rats, mice and rabbits. Infection can also be transmitted by close contact with an infected person via respiratory droplets. There is no specific treatment and prevention is by avoiding contact with infected animals and individuals.