'This does not constitute an outbreak,' Nigeria says after 15 monkeypox cases detected this year

  • The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recorded 558 cases of monkeypox and eight deaths in the past four years.
  • United Kingdom health officials traced a rare case of monkeypox to a person who has a recent travel history to Nigeria.
  • The centre says it does not constitute an outbreak and that it can deal with any developing cases.

Nigeria has recorded 15 monkeypox cases this year since the disease's re-emergence in the country in September 2017.

In the past four years, the country recorded more than 500 cases and eight deaths. 

"Since the re-emergence of monkeypox in Nigeria in September 2017, the country has continued to record sporadic cases of the disease from states across the country. Between September 2017 and 30 April 2022, a total of 558 cases and eight deaths has been confirmed in 22 states. Of these, 15 cases have been confirmed in 2022 alone," the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

The NCDC revealed this after the United Kingdom detected a case in a person who recently travelled to the West African country. UK health officials announced the case on Saturday. The person was said to be receiving care at the expert infectious disease unit at the Guy's and St Thomas' National Health Services Foundation Trust in London.

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"This does not constitute an outbreak. The highest number of cases have been reported from states in the South-South region of Nigeria," NCDC said, adding that they could deal with any developing cases of monkeypox.

"We reassure Nigerians of the NCDC's capacity to effectively diagnose and respond to cases of monkeypox.

"The National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Abuja can test for cases of monkeypox with a quick turnaround time," the NCDC added.

The NCDC said monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 and the first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It's a virus that's spread primarily from animals to humans, with symptoms such as fever, headache, body pain, malaise, enlargement of glands, sore throat and fluid-filled body rashes. This may last for two to four weeks.

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Transmission is through direct contact with infected animals, humans or contaminated materials. The virus does not spread easily between people, and the risk of transmission to the wider public is very low.

Monkeypox is generally self-limiting, which means patients tend to recover in a couple of weeks. However, supportive care and management of the condition are required and are mostly successful.

Control measures include isolation of suspected or confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, and the use of personal protective equipment.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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