The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Friday ferried samples for testing to Senegal from locals suspected to have monkeypox.
This follows a World Health Organization (WHO) May 30 report claiming that the international health body had received reports of 257 confirmed monkeypox cases and about 120 suspected cases in 23 nations where the virus is not endemic.
The samples were flown out to Senegal because Kenya does not have the capacity to test the disease owing to its rarity.
“The test is done using an antigen and since as a country we don’t have the capacity to test, we had to take them to a country that has dealt with the outbreak before and their laboratories are certified,” a Ministry of Health official who wanted to remain anonymous told the Nation.
Should the monkeypox virus be identified in the said samples, Kenya will have to set aside funds to acquire all necessary equipment and material to conduct the tests locally.
Efforts to reach out to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe proved unsuccessful but Emmanuel Okunga, the acting Head of Division of Disease Surveillance at the Ministry of Health stated that a fortnight ago, Kenya had a suspected case of monkeypox which turned out negative after testing.
“There was no further investigation because it did not fit the suspected case. We have very many diseases that appear with rashes but monkeypox is classical in its appearance with the swellings in the body. If samples have been ferried then I am not aware,” he told the Nation while acknowledging that Kenya did not have the means to conduct the tests locally.
On May 25,2022, Health PS Susan Mochache assured Kenyans that there are no cases of the monkeypox virus in the country and the East African region.
She likewise stated that the government has heightened surveillance of the virus at entry points.
“We do not have any monkeypox cases in the country or any neighbouring countries. I want to assure Kenyans that we have put in place measures to tackle the disease if we record it,” said Mochache then.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), confirmed monkeypox cases have been identified in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Health experts say close contact with an infected person is required to spread the monkeypox virus. Infections can develop after exposure to broken skin, mucous membranes, respiratory droplets, infected body fluids or even contact with contaminated linen.
Credits: citizen digital