Sixty people have been quarantined in Nigeria’s northern Kano State after coming into contact with a suspected monkeypox patient, local health authorities say.
Kano State Commissioner for Health, Kabul Getso, said at the weekend that “one of the symptoms of the disease was noticed in the patient, but we are suspecting that the disease is more of chickenpox than monkeypox”.
In an interview with BBC Hausa, he denied any suggestions he was downplaying the patient’s state.
Until the results of a blood sample – sent to the capital, Abuja, for clinical verification – were returned, it remains a suspected case, he said.
Dr Getso says 11 of Nigeria’s 36 state are affected by the monkeypox outbreak “and 94 persons are the victims, out of which only six are confirmed”.
Earlier this month a health official in the southern state of Bayelsa was quoted as saying that the virus could be found in monkeys and all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.
Health authorities in Nigeria have been warning the public against eating monkeys and bushmeat for the past few weeks.
Health Minister Isaac Adewole said in a recent statement that despite no known cure for the disease existing there was no cause for alarm because the virus was mild.
However, he advised the public to take preventative measures like avoiding crowded places.
The disease was part of a group of viruses that included chickenpox and smallpox, he said.