NIGERIA – Nigeria has intensified genomic surveillance for monkeypox at the National Reference Laboratory for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja to support capacity building of surveillance officers on laboratory testing for confirmation and sequencing of the virus.

Monkeypox is caused by a virus that is related to smallpox, the only human virus to have been eradicated. It causes less severe illness than smallpox, but is still quite dangerous.

Symptoms of monkeypox include sudden fever, headache, body pain, weakness, sore throat, enlargement of glands in the neck and under the jaw, followed by the appearance of a rash (often solid or fluid-filled at the onset) on the face, palms, soles of the feet, genitals and other parts of the body.

NCDC announced that out of 61 suspected cases of monkeypox since the start of the year, 21 cases had been confirmed with one fatality reported so far, noting that the cases were reported in nine states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The nine identified states include Adamawa with five cases, Lagos with four cases, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, FCT and Kano with two cases each while Imo and Rivers states with one case, respectively.

The death was reported in a 40-year-old patient who had underlying co-morbidity and was on immunosuppressive medications.

The Nigerian health institute revealed that there has been no evidence of any new or unusual transmission of the virus nor changes in its clinical manifestation documented including symptoms, profile and virulence.

Subsequently, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recently activated a national multisectoral Emergency Operations Centre for Monkeypox (MPX-EOC) at level 2 to strengthen and coordinate in-country preparedness while contributing to the global response.

The Emergency Operations Centre for monkeypox was activated based on the report of a preliminary risk assessment done by a group of Subject Matter Experts from the NCDC, relevant government Ministries Departments and Agencies as well as partner agencies.

Prior to the activation of the MPX-EOC, a multi-agency Technical Working Group coordinated at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control led Nigeria’s efforts to improve the detection, prevention and control of Monkeypox,” the health institute said in a statement.

NCDC further said that Nigeria’s national surveillance system, the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System was first deployed in response to the 2017 Monkeypox outbreak to improve the timeliness and completeness of case reporting along with facilitating the overall response.

Moreover, the pilot project informed the nationwide scale-up of Nigeria’s national surveillance system to enable real-time reporting of surveillance data for prompt public health response to infectious disease outbreaks including COVID-19.

A national One-health risk surveillance and information sharing (NOHRSIS) group was also inaugurated to facilitate timely information exchange on all prioritized zoonotic diseases.

In addition, the NCDC has advised members of the public to remain aware of the risk of Monkeypox and adhere to public health safety measures specifically reporting to the nearest health facility if you notice the known signs and symptoms of the disease.

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