The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) says as of December 23, the country registered 49 confirmed cases of monkeypox (renamed by WHO as Mpox) cases.
The centre made the announcement on its official website on Thursday, saying that this was a 9 per cent increase in the number of new confirmed cases when compared to the last report.
Monkeypox was renamed Mpox to avoid the racist and stigmatising language used for the disease that originated in Africa.
Mpox caused alarm when it spread worldwide earlier this year. While cases have reduced, experts warn this is not the time for complacency.
The public health agency said that the cumulative case in the country is 753 confirmed and seven deaths with a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of one per cent were reported from 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).
The NCDC said that the country has been witnessing a rise in Mpox cases, noting that the agency is ramping up control measures to curb the transmission of the virus.
It said that this includes community sensitization, which is essential to ensure early detection and notification of the disease.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it’s supporting the national efforts to bolster disease surveillance, case investigations, laboratory testing and public awareness of Mpox.
Mpox, a virus with symptoms like those of long-eradicated smallpox, although less severe, has been present in Nigeria since 2017.
As of December 23, 2022, 83,483 confirmed cases of Mpox and 275 deaths were reported from 110 countries/territories globally.
The countries reporting the majority of cases are mainly Europe and the Americas.
Since the beginning of 2022, the African continent has reported 1,215 confirmed cases and 219 deaths CFR: 18 per cent of Mpox from eight endemic Africa Union, Member States.
“These were Benin (3 confirmed cases; 0 confirmed deaths), Cameroon (18; 3), CAR (8; 2), Congo (5; 3), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (277; 198), Ghana (116; 4), Liberia (4; 0), Nigeria (753; 7) and five non-endemic countries – Egypt (4; 0), Morocco (3; 0), Mozambique (1; 1), South Africa (5; 0) and Sudan (18; 1).
In the review week, 59 new confirmed cases in the west African region with no new deaths of Mpox were reported from Ghana (9 cases; 0 deaths), Liberia (1; 0) and Nigeria (49; 0).
Meanwhile, despite Africa having countries that are endemic for Mpox, they have had virtually no access to the vaccines, nor to smallpox vaccines that had previously been used to protect against Mpox.
Africa only just received its first batch of Mpox vaccine as a donation from South Korea a few weeks ago, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Some experts have said that this is a critical time to suppress the epidemic by rolling out the vaccine in an equitable way.