The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has decried widespread misinformation about monkeypox, especially in Nigeria.
NCDC director-general Ifedayo Adetifa said this on Tuesday at a virtual media dialogue on monkeypox. Mr Adetifa, however, admitted that there was an uptick in monkeypox cases in Nigeria.
“If not contained, it could exceed the peak number of cases seen in 2017 when the infection re-emerged. Monkeypox is not a plot to cause lockdowns like COVID-19 and there is no evidence of the release of the virus from a laboratory,” he said.
Mr Adetifa noted that more than 3,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death have been recorded globally as of June 22. According to the NCDC, the nearly 5,000 human infections with monkeypox have been reported worldwide.
“In Nigeria, there has been no observed change in transmissibility of the virus nor changes in its clinical manifestation documented (including symptoms, profile, and virulence) nor is their evidence of sexual transmission,” explained the NCDC chief. “Apart from misinformation, discrimination and stigmatisation that comes with the Monkeypox infection needs urgent intervention across the globe.”
He noted that “prevailing media perception and misinformation on monkeypox has fuelled false narratives about the virus,” noting that the potential risk of discrimination and stigmatisation “from this requires urgent social and behaviour change intervention.”
Since monkeypox’s resurgence in 2017, he said a multi-agency technical working group coordinated at the NCDC led Nigeria’s efforts to improve the detection, prevention, and control of monkeypox.
“Importantly, we have gained a better understanding of the epidemiology of the virus to inform preparedness and response in-country,” he said. Mr Adetifa revealed that genomic sequencing was ongoing at NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory to identify possible mutations and the epidemiology of the virus.
“Monkeypox is a priority despite being neglected for years, especially during outbreaks as we have had in Nigeria and neighbouring countries such as DRC a few years back,” said the NCDC boss. “While it is unfortunate that it takes such a global spread for the needed attention to be given, here in Nigeria, it has remained a priority for us.”
Source: Peoples Gazette.