Nigeria’s first monkeypox death in 2022; 21 confirmed

Abuja, Nigeria — Nigeria has recorded the first death this year of a monkeypox patient with an underlying disease, the disease control agency said.

Nigeria’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday that by 2022 it had confirmed 21 of 66 suspected cases of the disease, which is typically endemic in Nigeria and other parts of West and Central Africa.

“A 40-year-old patient was reported to have underlying comorbidities and was taking immunosuppressive drugs,” the Nigerian Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Nigeria has not had an outbreak of monkeypox since September 2017, but it continues to report sporadic cases of the disease. Since then, 22 of its 36 states have had at least 247 confirmed cases, with a case fatality rate of 3.6%, the disease control agency said.

A surge in monkeypox cases reported in Europe and the United States has raised concerns in these countries, many of which have not recorded a single case of the disease for years. The World Health Organization says nearly 200 cases of the disease have been reported in more than 20 countries where the outbreak is not normally known.

Monkeypox has not previously caused widespread outbreaks outside Africa, where it is endemic.

One of the new cases in the UK was recorded on 4 May, within a working day of his arrival from Nigeria. Nigeria has recorded six confirmed cases of the disease with British citizens leaving the country.

Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, head of the country’s Centers for Disease Control, told The Associated Press that there is no indication that British citizens have contracted the disease in Nigeria, which is still bracing for a monkeypox outbreak.

“The biggest challenge you face with a disease like monkeypox is that it’s not common and the risk of people thinking how dangerous it is is very low…that’s why…we have awareness training and advocacy training to increase care the level of awareness of the personnel,” Adetifa said.

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