Nigeria has recorded 21 confirmed monkeypox cases across nine states and one death since January 2022, the country’s disease control agency has said.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the West African economic powerhouse has recorded 66 suspected monkeypox cases across more than 20 states this year.
Nigeria’s “risk of exposure to the monkeypox virus is high based on the recent risk assessment conducted,” the agency added in a report released late Sunday.
The report said the one death is of a 40-year-old patient who had underlying condition and was on immunosuppressive medications.
A rapid increase of suspected cases was recorded in May, when there were 20 new suspected cases from 11 states, a 100 percent increase in case reporting as compared with April, when 10 new cases were reported, said the report.
It is “likely due to ongoing efforts to increase awareness and improve surveillance”, it said, adding the NCDC had activated a national multisectoral emergency operations centre for monkeypox.
The centre will seek to strengthen and coordinate ongoing response activities in-country while contributing to the global response.
The NCDC was notified by health authorities in Britain about a case of exported monkeypox from Nigeria in early May, said the report.
It said that the patient visited Nigeria between April 20 and May 3, adding that the NCDC had since coordinated and supported the relevant state governments in carrying out an extensive investigation and response.
The NCDC urged Nigerians to remain aware of the risk of monkeypox and adhere to public health safety measures.
The public is also required to report to the nearest health facility if they notice the known signs and symptoms of the disease.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that endemic monkeypox is documented in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria.
The four African countries, ACDC said, have reported more than 1,400 endemic monkeypox cases and 62 deaths in 2022, with a case fatality rate of 4.4 percent.
Monkeypox is common in wild animals like primates and rodents, but humans can also get infected.
Symptoms include skin rashes, fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
The rash eventually forms a scab, which later falls off, indicating that the person is no longer infectious.