LUSAKA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Zambia's health authorities on Monday issued an alert over the threat of a monkeypox outbreak.
The alert followed reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the outbreak of monkeypox in some European countries as well as the United States, Canada and Australia.
Charles Milupi, the acting Minister of Health, said the Zambia National Public Health Institute, the government's disease intelligence agency, has heightened surveillance and was monitoring the disease outbreak.
He told reporters during a press briefing that although the country has not yet reported any cases, it was important to be alert, adding that community engagement and sensitization programs will be conducted.
"Our disease intelligence agency is already actively understanding the nature of the current outbreak and putting in place surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, prevention and response strategies," he said.
He added that risk communication and communication engagement plans will be adapted.
Endemic monkeypox disease is normally geographically limited to West and Central Africa. The identification of confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox without any travel history to an endemic area in multiple countries is atypical, said the WHO.
The WHO said on Saturday that there will be more monkeypox cases identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries. WHO's data show that as of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox had been reported from 12 member states where the monkeypox virus is not endemic.