The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has registered 59 suspected cases of Monkey pox, with 15 confirmed, its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said on Tuesday in Abuja.
The confirmation comes days after Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) in Texas, United States, had on July 16 reported a case of monkey pox in a resident who recently returned from Nigeria.
According to the DCHHS, the individual, whose name was withheld, is a resident of Dallas, Texas who travelled from Nigeria, and arrived at Love Field airport on July 9.
Speaking with newsmen on the development, Ihekweazu said an outbreak would be declared when there is a large cluster of monkey pox cases.
According to him, “The Federal Government was notified of the situation in Texas, through the International Health Regulations (IHR), who reported a case of monkey pox disease diagnosed in a patient who had recently visited Nigeria.
“Since the re-emergence of monkeypox in the country in September 2017, the agency has continued to receive reports and responses to sporadic cases of the disease from states across the country.
“We have been working closely with state health ministries to strengthen monkeypox disease surveillance and response in the country.
“We work with Enhanced Monkeypox Surveillance Project where we have been training health workers across states to rapidly detect and manage cases.
“Our initial focus is on the states with the highest number of cases – Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Lagos.
“We will continue working with all states to strengthen monkeypox prevention, detection and control in Nigeria,” he explained.
He urged Nigerians to continue adhering to precautions that protected them from monkey pox and other infectious diseases.
What you should know
Monkey pox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox. It is a rare but potentially deadly viral infection that begins with flu-like symptoms and progresses to a rash on the face and body.
It tends to last two to four weeks. People who do not have symptoms are not capable of transmitting the virus.
Monkey pox infections of that strain are fatal in about one in 100 people, affecting those with weakened immune systems more strongly.