Detection of human monkeypox in the Republic of the Congo following intensive community education.Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 May; 88(5):982-985.AJ
Monkeypox is an acute viral infection with a clinical course resembling smallpox. It is endemic in northern and central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but it is reported only sporadically in neighboring Republic of the Congo (ROC). In October 2009, interethnic violence in northwestern DRC precipitated the movement of refugees across the Ubangi River into ROC. The influx of refugees into ROC heightened concerns about monkeypox in the area, because of the possibility that the virus could be imported, or that incidence could increase caused by food insecurity and over reliance on bush meat. As part of a broad-based campaign to improve health standards in refugee settlement areas, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) sponsored a program of intensive community education that included modules on monkeypox recognition and prevention. In the 6 months immediately following the outreach, 10 suspected cases of monkeypox were reported to health authorities. Laboratory testing confirmed monkeypox virus infection in two individuals, one of whom was part of a cluster of four suspected cases identified retrospectively. Anecdotes collected at the time of case reporting suggest that the outreach campaign contributed to detection of suspected cases of monkeypox.