By Gabriel Olawale
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, is investigating reports that the two patients suspected to be infected with the Monkeypox virus in the United Kingdom, were recently in Nigeria.
Chief Executive of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement said the Centre was working with related agencies in charge of public health in the United Kingdom to investigate the incident.
According to Ihekweazu, “the NCDC is aware of two confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the United Kingdom, UK, in patients with a recent travel history from Nigeria.
“Following the recent report of the two cases in the UK, NCDC has been working with the UK’s public health agency— Public Health England, PHE, public health departments in the affected states and other partners in Nigeria— to investigate these cases.”
He added that the NCDC has also been working closely with states across the country to strengthen surveillance, detection and response to cases of Monkeypox.
His words: “A technical working group, coordinated by NCDC and comprising partners from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, World Health Organisation, WHO,, UNICEF, US Centres for Disease Control, US-CDC, and other agencies, 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.
“We re-assure Nigerians that NCDC has the capacity to effectively diagnose and respond to cases of Monkeypox. 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.”
In September 2017, Nigeria experienced a large sustained outbreak of Monkeypox and since then sporadic cases have continued to be reported.
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 hand-washing with soap and water and the use of personal protective equipment.