The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 59 suspected and 15 confirmed cases cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the country.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the NCDC, made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) in Texas, United States, had on July 16 reported a case of monkeypox in a resident who recently returned from Nigeria.
According to the DCHHS, the individual, whose name was withheld, is a resident of Dallas, Texas who travelled from Nigeria, and arrived at Love Field airport on July 9.
Speaking with NAN on the development, Ihekweazu said an outbreak would be declared when there is a large cluster of monkeypox cases.
He said: “The federal government was notified of the situation in Texas, through the International Health Regulations (IHR), who reported a case of monkeypox disease diagnosed in a patient who had recently visited Nigeria.
“Since the re-emergence of monkeypox in the country in September 2017, the agency has continued to receive reports and responses to sporadic cases of the disease from states across the country.
“We have been working closely with state health ministries to strengthen monkeypox disease surveillance and response in the country.
“We work with enhanced monkeypox surveillance project where we have been training health workers across states to rapidly detect and manage cases.
“Our initial focus is on the states with the highest number of cases – Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Lagos.
“We will continue working with all states to strengthen monkeypox prevention, detection and control in Nigeria.”
Ihekweazu advised Nigerians that “if you feel ill or have a sudden rash, please visit a hospital for diagnosis and management”.
Monkeypox is caused by a virus closely related to that which causes smallpox and cowpox, although not as deadly as smallpox.
It is spread via large respiratory droplets from someone showing symptoms of the disease, and can also be transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids or lesion material. People who are asymptomatic cannot spread the virus.
With NAN report