By Asma’u Ahmad
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday retated that there were no fresh cases of Monkeypox in the country in spite of two confirmed cases in the United Kingdom in patients with a recent travel history from Nigeria.
The Head of Media at the NCDC, Mr Jeremiah Agenyi, told newsmen in Lagos that the commission was well aware of the reported cases of patients with the deadly disease in the UK.
“Following the recent report of the two cases in the U.K., NCDC has been working with the U.K.’s public health agency; Public Health England (PHE), the public health departments. “We are in touch with the affected states and other partners in Nigeria to investigate these cases.
“The NCDC has also been working closely with states across the country to strengthen surveillance, detection and response to cases of Monkeypox,” he said.
Agenyi said that NCDC had set up a technical committee with other national and international health agencies for coordination of reports on the deadly disease.
“A Technical Working Group coordinated by NCDC and comprising of partners from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and U.S. Centres for Disease Control (US-CDC). “We are also in collaboration with other agencies where we meet weekly to ensure coordination.
“In addition, NCDC met with stakeholders recently, including surveillance officers and case management physicians from all affected states to review the actions taken so far and strategise on how to strengthen the country’s response.
“Monkeypox is a virus that is spread primarily from animals to humans, with symptoms such as fever, headache, body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (enlargement of glands), sore throat and the typical generalised vesicular rash,” he said.
Agenyi said that Monkeypox patients must adhere strictly to universal precaution, especially frequent handwashing and other personal protective equipment.
“The symptoms of Monkeypox may last for two to four weeks, while the transmission is via direct contact with infected animals, human or contaminated materials. “The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk of transmission to the wider public is very low.
“Monkeypox is generally self-limiting, which means patients tend to recover in a couple of weeks. However, supportive care and management of the condition is required and mostly successful.
“Control measures include isolation of suspected or confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water and the use of personal protective equipment,” he said.
Agenyi assured the populace that the commission would continue to measure up to the demands, adding that NCDC was up to the task of curbing the menace of the disease.
He said that NCDC had the capacity to effectively diagnose and respond to cases of Monkeypox, noting that the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja has the capacity to test for cases of Monkeypox with a quick turn-around time.
“We therefore, encourage any healthcare worker that suspects a case of Monkeypox to reach out to their State Epidemiology team for appropriate action. Guidelines on the management of Monkeypox cases and outbreaks can be found on the NCDCs website,” he said.
Agenyi said that since the deadly virus was discovered in Nigeria, a total number of 262 cases had been reported. “Between September 2017, when the outbreak started and August 31, 2018, a total of 262 suspected cases had been reported from 26 states.
“Of this number, 113 have been confirmed in 16 states with seven deaths recorded. “The highest number of cases have been reported from states in the South-South region of Nigeria,” he said.