Nigeria has recorded 21 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus infection so far this year, including one fatality, the national disease control agency said.

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Monkeypox, several cases of which have recently been detected in Europe and North America, is a rare disease originating in Africa which is generally cured spontaneously.

As of Sunday evening, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said 66 suspected cases have been reported in nine states across the country as well as the capital Abuja.

Twenty-one of these cases were later confirmed as monkeypox virus infections. A 40-year-old man, also suffering from kidney disease, has died.

In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, the risk of exposure to monkeypox is high, but the health consequences are relatively low, according to the NCDC.

“The current situation in the country and in the world has shown no significant threat (…) that could lead to serious illness or a high fatality rate”.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans from infected animals. Person-to-person transmission is possible, but is considered rare.

First identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the disease is now considered endemic in a dozen African countries.

Its symptoms are high fever, headache, muscle pain, then the appearance of rashes, lesions, pustules.

So far, confirmed cases in non-endemic regions are generally mild and no deaths have been reported.