Nigeria: NCDC Confirms UK Patient Diagnosed With Monkeypox 'Visited Nigeria'

5 December 2019

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said it is aware of a case of monkeypox disease reported in England.

It said the disease was diagnosed in a patient that had visited Nigeria.

NCDC in a tweet on NCDC Twitter handle @NCDCgov said it is aware of a case of monkeypox reported in England "in an individual who visited Nigeria recently".

The Nigerian health agency said it is working closely with its counterparts from the Public Health England (PHE) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to monitor the disease.

The tweet said in most cases, "monkeypox is a mild disease which will normally be resolved on its own".

"In Nigeria, we confirm an average of two monkeypox cases per week at our National Reference Laboratory in Abuja. We will continue to strengthen prevention and response activities," it stated.

UK case

British officials on Wednesday had confirmed a case of monkeypox in an individual who visited Nigeria recently.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by virus and has been reported mainly in central and West African countries. The disease shares similarities with smallpox as it produces lesions on the skin.

This is not the first time a case of monkeypox will be exported to other countries from Nigeria. Three cases were reported in the UK in September last year.

Also, cases had previously been exported from Nigeria to Israel and Singapore.

Assessing the situation in the UK, PHE said the risk to the general public in England is very low.

In spite of that, the agency is still taking prevention measures by tracing people who have been in contact with the patient since he got back to England.

"As a precautionary measure, PHE experts are working closely with NHS colleagues to implement rapid infection control procedures, including contacting people who might have been in close contact with the individual to provide information and health advice.

"This includes contacting passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to the UK. If passengers are not contacted, then there is no action they should take," it said.

Nigerian situation

Monkeypox was once thought to be ousted in the country, but it resurfaced in 2017 when the first confirmed case of a monkeypox outbreak was reported in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

Prior to the 2017 outbreak, the disease was last reported in Nigeria in 1978.

However, since the resurgence of the disease in the country, NCDC has been keeping a surveillance on the disease.

The weekly epidemiological report released by the agency for week 46, shows that as at November 17, 101 suspected monkeypox cases were reported across the country and 43 confirmed cases with two deaths recorded.

According to the report, there has been no significant difference in the suspected and confirmed cases in 2019 as compared to figures on the disease in 2018.

Symptoms of the disease are usually self-limiting and most people recover within weeks.

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.

Severe illness and death usually only occurs among immunosuppressed individuals.

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