Sudan has detected its first monkeypox case, health authorities said Monday, after the World Health Organization last month declared the disease a public health emergency of international concern.
The health ministry announced “registering the first confirmed case of monkeypox in a 16-year-old student in West Darfur state in Sudan”.
Montaser Othman, who is director of epidemic control, said there had been around 38 other “suspected cases” but all had tested negative for the virus.
An investigation was underway by the federal and state health ministries to determine the source of the infection, he added.
The impoverished northeast African nation is especially vulnerable given its poor public health services.
According to UN children’s agency UNICEF, only 70 percent of the 45-million-strong population have “access to a health facility within 30 minutes travel of their home” in Sudan, where 13 of 18 states suffered outbreaks of vector-borne diseases in 2021.
Last month the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the highest alarm it can sound.
The discovery comes barely days after the World Health Organization convened a second meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus was held to examine the worsening situation, with nearly 15,400 cases reported from 71 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Nigeria, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed that the West African economic powerhouse has recorded 66 suspected monkeypox cases across more than 20 states this year.
A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.