NCDC dismisses Russia’s working with US, monkeypox

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THE Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has refuted a Russian government claim tying the current Monkeypox outbreak to purported US-funded and controlled bio-laboratories in Nigeria.

Earlier, during a press conference, the Russian government’s Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Force, Igor Kirillov, connected laboratories in Nigeria to the current monkeypox outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies monkeypox as a zoonosis, or a disease spread from animals to people. Cases are frequently discovered near tropical rainforests where the virus-carrying animals might be found. Animals infected with the monkeypox virus include squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, several monkey species, and others.

As of Thursday, May 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 257 confirmed monkeypox cases and around 120 suspected cases in 23 countries where the virus is not endemic.

In a statement shared with The ICIR, the NCDC stated that the Russian government’s position was not supported by any evidence.

“The designation and activities of Nigerian public health laboratories are known to the supervising authorities,” according to the NCDC, “the majority of the laboratories having been procured and set up by the Federal Government in all 36 States and FCT for diagnostic purposes, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases.”

The center also mentioned that some other laboratories are dedicated to the Federal Government’s and her partners’ highly successful HIV control program, which is based on larger and longstanding bilateral and multilateral cooperation in public health, including disease prevention, diagnosis, surveillance, and control.

“As a general rule, Nigeria welcomes scientific cooperation with all foreign countries, and has received material assistance from the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and others, as well as discussed vaccine production with Russia.” Collaboration between Nigeria and the United States provides chances for technical assistance, capacity building, the provision of equipment and field hospitals during the COVID-19 epidemic, and monies to support health programs like as HIV/AIDS and malaria eradication.”

In an earlier statement, Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section (PAS), US Consulate General in Nigeria, stated rumors that the US was collaborating with Nigeria to spread MonkeyPox were false.

Instead, the embassy said the US government has continued supporting Nigerian health authorities with technical assistance and funding to tackle disease outbreaks such as COIVD-19 and Monkeypox.

The viral sickness has been reported in nine of Nigeria’s 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

Adamawa has five, Lagos has four, Bayelsa has two, Delta has two, Cross River has two, FCT has two, Kano has two, Imo has one, and Rivers has one (1).

Monkeypox symptoms include a high fever, headache, body pain, weakness, sore throat, and enlargement of glands (lymph nodes) in the neck and under the jaw, followed by the appearance of a rash (often solid or fluid-filled at first) on the face, palms, soles of the feet, genitals, and other parts of the body.

According to the NCDC, the patient who died from the virus had an underlying co-morbidity and was on immunosuppressive drugs, and genomic surveillance was underway at the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.

The Centre established that all of the cases were caused by the West African clade monkeypox virus.