Edo State in Nigeria kickstarts coordinated response plan for monkeypox

NIGERIA – Edo State in Nigeria has intensified its coordinated response to contain the spread of monkeypox disease after eight persons tested positive for monkeypox in the state and all the people diagnosed with the disease recovered.

According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 are Africa Union Member States are accounting for approximately 12% of all reported cases with the highest case fatality rate (CFR) globally specifically CFR stands at 3.7%.

The public health agency cautioned that a total of 2,031 patients including 250 confirmed cases and 1,781 suspected cases as well as 75 deaths of monkeypox have been reported in Africa from nine endemic and two non-endemic Africa Union (AU) Member States.

In 2022, Nigeria has reported 357 suspected cases with 133 confirmed monkeypox cases from 25 states namely Lagos, Adamawa, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Bayelsa, Nasarawa Plateau FCT, Ondo, Anambra Cross River, Kwara, Borno, Taraba, Oyo, Imo, Kano, Katsina, Gombe, Niger Ogun, Kogi, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom and Abia.

Edo State Ministry of Health (MOH) with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners has ramped up surveillance, diagnostics and other activities to curb the spread of infectious diseases at a time when eight persons have so far tested positive for monkeypox in the state.

In addition, WHO has been an invaluable partner to the response of monkeypox diagnosis and treatment in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Edo State in ongoing efforts to curb the disease spreading within communities.

WHO is also supporting the coordination of technical assistance and operational support of partners including the national One-health risk surveillance and information sharing (NOHRSIS) group to facilitate timely information exchange on all prioritized zoonotic diseases.

The Director of Public Health Edo State Ministry of Health Dr Ojeifo Stephenson declared that it has become imperative to warn the residents of the state about the health risks that the monkeypox virus poses and reiterate the need to be cautious and adhere to preventive measures.

Dr Ojeifo Stephenson explained that with WHO’s coordination, there is an early response following notification of suspected and/or confirmed cases with detailed case investigations using the monkeypox case investigation form (CIF) to collect data on patient contacts.

Edo State has stepped up disease surveillance activities such as prompt investigation of suspected cases, facilitating documentation of contacts, contact tracing and monitoring as well as developed and disseminated public health advisory to raise awareness about the disease among residents of the state.

The Director of Public Health Edo State Ministry of Health stressed about the dire need for continuous risk messaging to educate people about infectious diseases and the importance of seeking medical care early and at appropriate health facilities to prevent the spread of diseases.

Nigeria has intensified genomic surveillance for monkeypox at the National Reference Laboratory for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja to support capacity building of surveillance officers on laboratory testing for confirmation and sequencing of the virus.

The NCDC with support from WHO activated the Monkeypox Emergency Operations Centre to strengthen in-country preparedness and contribute to the global response of the outbreak across Nigeria, WHO Regional Office for Africa reported.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control also hosted a series of theoretical and hands-on training on real-time PCR-based monkeypox virus (MPXV) diagnosis held at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.

Furthermore, WHO recently activated its highest alert level for the growing monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus a public health emergency of international concern, as more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported across more than 70 countries so far this year.

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