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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Suspected Monkeypox in Nigeria

10 Oct 2017

Nigeria has reported a total of 31 cases of suspected monkeypox in an outbreak that began in late September 2017.

Suspected cases have been reported from Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River States. None of the cases has been laboratory-confirmed at this stage and investigations are ongoing.

Advice for Travellers

Monkeypox is a rare infection related to smallpox. While it is usually less severe that smallpox, it can be be fatal in a minority of cases.

Monkeypox is unusual in travellers and tends to occur in isolated rural or forest areas. Nearly all cases have occurred in Central or West Africa, with only a few cases ever reported outside Africa. Most infections result from direct contact with the blood, body fluids, or cutaneous/ mucosal lesions of infected animals including monkeys, giant rats, squirrels and rabbits. Rodents are the major source of infection. Eating undercooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.

There is no specific vaccine or treatment for monkeypox and prevention is by avoiding contact with infected animals and people.