The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, and health officials in Dallas, Texas are investigating a case of monkeypox in a traveller who arrived from Nigeria.
In a statement, the Director of the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Philip Huang, stated: “The individual is a City of Dallas resident who travelled from Nigeria to Dallas, arriving at Love Field airport on July 9, 2021. The person is hospitalised in Dallas and is in stable condition.
“We have been working closely with the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services, and have conducted interviews with the patient and close contacts that were exposed. We have determined that there is very little risk to the general public,” Huang said.
The CDC said it was working to contact airline passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient during flights from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta on July 8, with arrival on July 9; and Atlanta to Dallas on July 9.
“Travellers on these flights were required to wear masks as well as in the U.S. airports due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it’s believed the risk of the spread of monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on planes and in airports is low.
“Working with airline and state and local health partners, CDC is assessing potential risks to those who may have had close contact with the traveler on the plane and specific settings.”
The CDC said that in Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease. It noted that the strain involved in this week’s case is much less deadly, killing perhaps 1 in 100 people.
Outbreak only declared when large cluster of cases is an emergency — NCDC
In a response to the development, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, said that Nigeria had recorded cases of monkeypox this year, but noted that an outbreak is only declared when a large cluster of cases constitutes an emergency.
The Director-General/CEO of the NCDC, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, told Vanguard that: “Since 2017, sporadic cases of monkeypox have been recorded in Nigeria throughout the year. The data on monkeypox is published every week in the National Weekly Epidemiological report available via www.ncdc.gov.ng
“This year, we have recorded 52 suspected cases and 13 confirmed cases with no death so far. We have continued to support states in strengthening their preparedness and response capacity.
“We continue to detect and respond to monkeypox cases in Nigeria as with other epidemic-prone diseases. This means that when there is a large cluster of cases that constitute an emergency, an outbreak is declared,” he remarked.
In 2017, Nigeria experienced its largest documented monkeypox outbreak 40 years after the last confirmed case, according to the World Health Organisation, WHO.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that is indigenous to Central and West Africa. In humans, the disease is similar to smallpox, though milder.
Rodents, including animals kept as pets, are the main suspected reservoir hosts of the monkeypox virus, with monkeys and humans as secondary, spill-over hosts.
People at risk for monkeypox are those who get bitten by an infected animal or have contact with the animal’s rash, blood or body fluids. It can also be transmitted person to person through respiratory or direct contact and contact with contaminated bedding or clothing.
Symptoms of monkeypox
According to the CDC, the symptoms of monkeypox appear about 12 days after infection. It begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox does not and like smallpox.
One to three days (or longer) after the fever starts, patients will get a rash that develops into raised bumps filled with fluid and often starts on the face and spreads, but it can start on other parts of the body too. The bumps go through several stages before they get crusty, scab over, and fall off. The illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks.