A suspected monkeypox outbreak has hit Nigeria’s southern Bayelsa State, with at least 10 people quarantined because of fears that they have contracted the viral infection, health officials are quoted by local media as saying.
The 10 include a doctor, and efforts are being made to trace 49 other people who had contact with those thought to be infected by the virus, the privately owned Punch newspaper reports.
Monkeypox is a rare smallpox-like disease, which is not usually fatal to humans.
The Punch quoted Bayelsa State Health Commissioner Ebitimitula Etebu as saying that the outbreak had not yet been confirmed and samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory in Senegal for tests.
The results would indicate whether there was an outbreak, he said, adding:
“But from all indications, it points towards it. As the name implies, the virus was first seen in monkey, but can also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.”