Nigeria's center for disease control said Monday that 31 suspected cases of monkey pox have been reported in at least seven states, triggering immediate activation of a national emergency response. The center had last Thursday confirmed the outbreak of the disease in the oil-rich southern Bayelsa state where 12 cases were confirmed and dozens of people already quarantined. "Following the notification of a suspected monkey pox outbreak [...] in Bayelsa State, other suspected cases have been reported from six more states, bringing the total number of suspected cases so far to 31 across seven States - Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River States," the center said in a statement on Monday night.
"Samples have been collected from each suspected case for laboratory confirmation. Results are still awaited. So far, there have been no deaths recorded," it added. The center said it has activated an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to coordinate the outbreak investigation and response across the affected states. The center said the monkey pox infection was a relatively rare disease that had previously been reported in Nigeria in the 1970s, and is transmitted from animals to humans. It listed the animal hosts of the virus to be squirrels, rats and monkeys.
"The monkey pox virus can cause an illness with the following symptoms; a generalized vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling," the body had said, urging people to maintain personal hygiene and avoid contacts with infected people. "In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10 percent of infected cases. Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, when intensive supportive care is provided most patients recover fully," the center added.