Monkeypox infection has persisted in Nigeria as latest figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that the disease killed one person and infected 46 others in nine states last year.
According to the Monkeypox Monthly Situation by the NCDC, Nigeria continues to report sporadic cases of monkeypox since September 2017. In the reporting month of December 2019, six new suspected monkeypox cases were reported from five states -Lagos (one), Rivers (one), Oyo (one), Imo (one) and Plateau (two).
The NCDC noted that of the suspected cases two were confirmed positive for monkeypox in Rivers (one) and Imo (one) states; and one case of monkeypox was confirmed in the United Kingdom on December 4, 2019 in a traveler from Nigeria.
It, however, noted that no death was recorded in the reporting month but a total of 113 suspected cases were reported between January and December 2019.
According to the NCDC, of the suspected cases, 46 were confirmed from nine states (Bayelsa, Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Anambra, Cross River, Oyo and Oyo) and one death were recorded; and four states (Lagos, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa) recorded 85 per cent of the confirmed cases in Nigeria in 2019.
It, however, noted that two monkeypox cases were confirmed in the United Kingdom and Singapore in travelers from Nigeria during the year. According to the NCDC, the two cases had travelled to Delta state and departed Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The most affected age group is 21-40 years with 78 per cent of confirmed cases; and males are more affected with male to female ratio of 3:1.
According to the report, from the first cases in September 2017 to November 2019, a total of 183 confirmed cases and nine deaths have been recorded in 18 states (Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Delta, Bauchi, Federal Capital Territory/FCT Abuja, Abia, Oyo, Enugu, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Edo, Anambra).
According to WHO Fact Sheet, monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae, causes monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions. Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
Monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, but human-to-human transmission also occurs. Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
Typically, up to a tenth of persons ill with monkeypox may die, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups. The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection, which was declared, eradicated worldwide in 1980.
Vaccinia vaccine used during the smallpox eradication programme was also protective against monkeypox. A new third generation vaccinia vaccine has now been approved for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. Antiviral agents are also being developed.
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