By Iyemah David
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported 21 more cases of monkey pox in the country within the past seven days.
The NCDC via its official website announced on Sunday that the disease could be spread by close contact and exposure to an infected person’s respiratory droplets, skin lesions or bodily fluids.
The agency also reported that Nigeria recorded six monkey pox related deaths between January and August and that six states in the country had recorded one death each from the disease.
It listed the six states where monkey pox deaths occurred as Delta, Lagos, Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Taraba and Kogi.
According to the NCDC, monkey pox symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever and a rash that may initially be mistaken for chickenpox or a sexually transmitted disease, if in the genital or anal region.
“Between Aug. 15 and Aug. 21, Taraba and Kogi States recorded two deaths,” the agency added.
It said that the total number of confirmed cases of monkey pox in the country had also risen to 241, with 21 new cases reported in one week between August 15 and August 21.
The NCDC said that the 21 confirmed cases were reported from 12 states.
It listed the states as Lagos (7), Adamawa (2), Ebonyi (2), Imo (2) and one each at Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Edo, FCT, Katsina, Kaduna, Kogi and Ondo states.
“Of the 241 confirmed cases of monkey pox in the country, Lagos State has the highest burden of the disease, with 42 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year.
“This translates to 17.4 per cent of the total burden of the disease in the country.
“Overall, since the re-emergence of monkey pox in September, 2017 to August this year, a total of 1,116 suspected cases have been reported from 35 states.
“Of the 1,116 suspected cases, there have been 467 (41.8 per cent) confirmed (309 male, 158 female) from 32 states.
“In addition, from September, 2017 to August, 2022, a total of 14 deaths have been recorded, with a case fatality rate of three per cent, in 10 states.
“The states are: Lagos – three, Edo – two, Imo – one, Cross River – one, FCT – one, Rivers – one, Ondo State – one, Delta – one, Akwa Ibom – one, Taraba – one and Kogi – one.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared a global health emergency after the spread of monkey pox to many countries through social interactions and intimate contacts.
Monkey pox may be most severe in young children, especially if they have poor nutritional status.
In previous years, fatal cases have occurred primarily among children in Africa.
Vaccines can prevent monkey pox, but vaccines are currently in short supply worldwide.
When widely available, the vaccine may also be used to protect at-risk populations, including men having sex with men, bisexual people, commercial sex workers and others who engage in behaviours that put them at risk.
The infection continues to spread but because transmission requires close personal contact, the rate is much slower than that of SARS-CoV-2 virus (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19).