Egyptians urged not to panic over monkeypox

Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said monkeypox spreads more slowly than Covid-19 and that Egypt is equipped to handle any outbreak

Egypt has yet to detect any cases of monkeypox. AFP
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Egypt’s acting health minister, Khaled Adbel Ghaffar, has called for calm over monkeypox, saying the country’s health services were monitoring the situation closely and have not yet detected any cases.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he said the disease was far less transmissible than Covid-19 and that it does not spread through the air.

“Thus far, monkeypox is not worrying, but we, just like the rest of the world, are monitoring the situation closely,” he said at the meeting.

The acting health minister said that with about 250 cases worldwide, his ministry’s outlook is that recent outbreaks of the disease are manageable.

Mr Abdel Ghaffar said Egypt is well-equipped to handle the disease should infections be detected.

He revealed that the health ministry had already taken steps towards obtaining smallpox vaccines, which reportedly have an efficacy rate of 85 per cent against monkeypox on account of the similarities in both viruses’ genetic make-up.

The ministry is also procuring medicine for it, he said.

“Health ministry units in every Egyptian province are on standby for any suspected cases of monkeypox,” he said.

Though it is endemic to countries in central and west Africa, monkeypox has spread to at least 20 countries in recent weeks, causing more than 100 infections. Most have occurred in Europe.

Israel recorded its first case earlier this week, becoming the first Middle Eastern country to do so.

A couple of days later, the UAE also reported its first case of the monkeypox.

According to the WHO, the virus spreads through close contact and was first found in monkeys in west Africa in the 1950s.

Updated: May 25, 2022, 2:18 PM