The World Health Organisation( WHO) has expressed worry that Nigeria may risk further transmission of the recent case of monkeypox found in a traveler from the United Kingdom even as the source of infection remains unknown.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)said it is currently investigating the confirmed case of monkeypox even as it has assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm.
The WHO in a situation report on disease outbreaks said that since the reported case was immediately isolated and contact tracing performed, the risk of onward transmission related to the case in the United Kingdom will be minimal.
The WHO report further disclosed that no fewer than 46 suspected cases from seven States have been recorded in Nigeria in 2022 while a total of 558 suspected cases of monkeypox from 32 states were reported in the country from September 2017 to April 30, 2022.
On the 558 cases recorded in Nigeria so far, the WHO report stated that 241 were confirmed cases, and among these there were eight deaths recorded (Case Fatality Ratio: 3.3 percent).
From 1 January to 30 April 2022, 46 suspected cases have been reported of which 15 were confirmed from seven states – Adamawa (three cases), Lagos (three cases), Cross River (two cases), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) (two cases), Kano (two cases), Delta (two cases) and Imo (one case). No death has been recorded in 2022.
“In the present case, the source of infection is currently unknown and the risk of further transmission in Nigeria cannot be excluded. Once monkeypox was suspected in the United Kingdom, authorities promptly initiated appropriate public health measures, including isolation of the case and contact tracing. The risk of potential onward spread related to this case in the United Kingdom is therefore minimal. As the source of infection in Nigeria is not known, there remains a risk of further transmission in Nigeria.Importations of monkeypox from an endemic country to another country have been documented on eight previous occasions. In this instance, the confirmed case has a history of travel from Delta state in Nigeria, where monkeypox is endemic,” WHO stated.
The WHO risk assessment report revealed that in the United Kingdom, there have been seven cases of monkeypox previously reported and all importations were related to a travel history to or from Nigeria.
The report further noted that in 2021, there were also two separate human monkeypox cases imported from Nigeria reported by the United States of America.
Speaking in a press statement, the director general of the NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said the unidentified patient, a UK resident, arrived in Nigeria on 20th April 2022, and returned to the UK on 4th May 2022.
Adetifa said: “On 7th May 2022, the NCDC was notified by the UK International Health Regulations (IHR) national focal point of a case of monkeypox detected in a patient with recent travel history to Nigeria.
Noting that the individual was a UK resident who arrived in Nigeria on 20th April 2022, travelled to Lagos and Delta States, departed Lagos on 3rd May 2022 ,Adetifa said while in Nigeria, the case did not report being in contact with anyone with symptoms of monkeypox or other illness with rash.
He also explained that the diagnosis of monkeypox (West African clade) was confirmed by PCR in the UK on 6th May 2022 and that the patient was currently stable and receiving care.