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NCDC calls for caution as monkeypox cases soar, decries misinformation



COVID-19 strengthened Nigeria's health sector —NCDC boss

The pervasive transmission of false information regarding the monkeypox virus, particularly in Nigeria, has been criticized by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Ifedayo Adetifa, the NCDC’s director general, announced this during a virtual media discussion on the epidemic on Tuesday.

However, Adetifa acknowledged that the number of cases of monkeypox in Nigeria has increased.

“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.

He stated that as of June 22, there had been more than 3,000 laboratory-confirmed cases reported worldwide, along with one fatality.

Adetifa brought up the roughly 5,000 human cases of monkeypox infection that have been documented globally.

Monkeypox, according to the NCDC DG, is a common disease.

“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.

“Apart from misinformation, discrimination and stigmatisation that comes with the Monkeypox infection, it needs urgent intervention across the globe.

Read also: NCDC says no known treatment for monkeypox, warns against contact with animals

“Prevailing media perception and misinformation on monkeypox has fuelled false narratives about the virus, and the potential risk of discrimination and stigmatisation from this requires urgent social and behaviour change intervention,” he explained.

According to him, NCDC is supporting the global effort to respond to the disease as well as pushing for the renaming and re-classification of the virus to a “non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising nomenclature”.

“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.

“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,” he said.

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