Fourteen weeks after the first suspected monkeypox case in the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has reported the first death from the disease. The agency also announced 61 confirmed cases.
According to the situation report for monkeypox outbreak released by the health agency for the epidemiological week 49, on Wednesday, the dead patient was a confirmed case with background immune-compromised condition.
The health agency however said it has deactivated the monkeypox Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, this week.
Response to the disease will henceforth be coordinated by ”a technical working group” comprising of all existing response partners.
It added that there has been a decline in the number of new suspected cases reported over the last five weeks.
Since the onset of the outbreak, a total of 172 cases (suspected, confirmed and probable) have been recorded from 22 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Five additional cases and two probable cases have been recorded since the last update, bringing the total confirmed cases to 61 in 14 states.
The first suspected case of the disease was reported in Bayelsa and later reported at neighbouring River State before spreading to other states across the country.
One new suspected case was reported from Adamawa State in the reporting week, while two new confirmed cases were recorded in the reporting week from Bayelsa.
The health agency said though clustering of cases was demonstrated in some instances, there was no known evidence yet of epidemiological linkages across states. It added that only 7 per cent of the current cases in Nigeria have been linked to human to human transmission, including one health worker.
The NCDC said it would continue to coordinate the response to the disease through its EOC.
“To enhance data management and real-time mapping of cases and contacts, the Surveillance and Outbreak Response Management System, SORMAS, app was deployed on November 4, 2017 to the outbreak.
”However, the monkeypox EOC has been deactivated this week and the response will henceforth be coordinated by a technical working group comprising of all existing response partners,” it said.
Statistics from NCDC also showed that men were more infected by the disease as the male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 3:1 and the most affected age group is 21-40 years.
It said the scare of the disease had disrupted immunisation routine across the country.
The minister of health Isaac Adewole had to appeal to Nigerians to continue allowing their children receive immunisation as monkeypox could not be transmitted through immunisation and has no vaccine.
Mr. Adewole had assured that monkeypox could only be transmitted from one person to another. He said human-to-human transmission occurs through respiratory droplets, contact with infected persons or contaminated materials.
Control measures, he said, include isolation of suspected or confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, and use of personal protective equipment.
Mr. Adewole said signs and symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (enlargement of glands), sore throat, and the characteristic generalised vesicular rash. He said rashes might last between two and four weeks.