Monkeypox: Nigeria records 558 cases, eight deaths in five years

About 72 hours after health authorities in the United Kingdom announced that a traveller from Nigeria tested positive for Monkeypox infection, the Nigerian government has given the statistics of the disease cases and fatalities recorded in the country within the last five years.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in its latest report said the country recorded 558 cases and eight deaths across 32 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between 2017 and 2022.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had at the weekend confirmed a Monkeypox infection in an unidentified individual believed to have been contracted in Nigeria before arriving in the UK.

Without disclosing the identity of the patient, the UKHSA, in a publication on the official UK government website, noted that the patient is receiving care at an infectious disease unit.

Monkeypox in Nigeria

NCDC in the latest epidemiological summary on Monkeypox which was published on Monday noted that since September 2017, Nigeria has continued to report sporadic cases of the disease.

It said a National Technical Working Group (TWG) was set up and saddled with the task of monitoring infections and strengthening preparedness and response capacity.

The disease control centre noted that eight deaths have been recorded with a Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) of 3.3 per cent in six states: Edo (2), Lagos (2), Imo (1), Cross River (1), FCT (1) and Rivers (1) – from September 2017 to April 30, 2022.

Breaking down the cases, the centre said a total of 13 suspected cases had been reported between January 1 to February 28, 2022. Out of these suspected cases, NCDC said four were confirmed positive in three states and the FCT with a single case each.

It said also in February six new suspected cases were recorded in three states with Bayelsa recording three; Imo, two; and Lagos, one.

NCDC said only the suspected case in Lagos was found to be positive after test results were released.

The disease body further noted that from September 2017 to February, 2022, a total of 525 suspected cases had been reported from 32 states in the country.

Out of these reported cases, NCDC said a total of 230, representing 43.8 per cent, had been confirmed in 20 states and the FCT. It noted that Rivers State topped the list with 52 cases, followed by Bayelsa and Lagos States with 43 and 31 cases respectively.

While the FCT recorded seven cases, the other states are Delta (29), Cross River (14), Edo (10), Imo (9), Akwa Ibom (7), Oyo (6), Enugu (4), Abia (3), Plateau (3), Nasarawa (2), Benue (2), Anambra (2), Ekiti (2), Ebonyi (1), Niger (1), Ogun (1) and Adamawa (1).

A total of eight(8) deaths had been recorded (CFR= 3.5 per cent) in six states namely Edo (2), Lagos (2), Imo (1), Cross River (1), FCT (1) and Rivers (1) from September 2017 to February 28th, 2022.

More on the infection

Meanwhile, the director of clinical and emerging infections in UKHSA, Colin Brown, explained that Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily among people. “It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”

He said: “The infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however, there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population.

“The initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.”

He added that UKHSA and the NHS have well-established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and that the protocol will be strictly followed.

About Monkeypox

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mmonkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘Monkeypox.’

The first human case of Monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox.

Since then, Monkeypox has been reported in people in several other central and western African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.

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