Ministry of Health says there is no Monkey pox in Malawi

Ministry of Health says investigations on a suspected case of Monkeypox from Chiradzulu District Health Office tested negative for Monkeypox, meaning that there is no Monkeypox in Malawi.

In a press release issued on Sunday by the ministry, signed by Principal Secretary, Charles Mwansambo, the ministry says the case is not Monkeypox but rather disseminated Varicella disease caused by the Varicella virus.

"Ministry of Health would like to inform the general public that it has received a report from Chiradzulu District Health Office on a patient suspected of having Monkeypox.

Mwansambo: the case from Chiradzulu was Varicella disease caused by the Varicella virus  

“The Ministry immediately, using the WHO recommended Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response, started investigating the case including getting a specialist opinion from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital which is indicating that it is not a case of Monkeypox but disseminated Varicella disease which affects the skin, brain, liver, and lungs (encephalitis, hepatitis, and pneumonitis) and is caused by the Varicella virus, the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles.

"The patient had not traveled outside the country and neither had he been in contact with any known case of Monkeypox," reads the statement.

The ministry, however, said through the Public Health Reference Laboratory at the Community Health Sciences Unit (CHSU) in Lilongwe, that it will proceed to process samples from the case to guide the definitive diagnosis.

“The Ministry will continue working with the World Health Organization in monitoring the Monkeypox global situation.

“The Ministry is reminding the public to continue practicing good personal hygiene and also go to the nearest health facility without delay when they are feeling unwell," it reads. 

A report from Chiradzulu District Health Office dated June 10, indicated that the patient who died on Friday morning was taken to the hospital on Wednesday and presented with a painful rash all over the body with an itchy and burning sensation.

Monkeypox had been spreading since May this year and as of June 8, there were 1285 laboratory-confirmed cases, according to WHO.