Nigerian AKAMKPA — The two sons of Destiny, a 48-year-old Nigerian businessman whose nephew was recently infected with the monkeypox virus, have already shown similar symptoms.
The lymph nodes become swollen and begin a few days after the fever. Destiny is affected by a heat wave that hits the state of Cross River in southeastern Nigeria, where her sons live, even though her body rash has transformed into a pus-filled acne and scabbed. She believes she’s just feeling. He believes that his rash “disappears after a while” and prevents his sons in his early twenties from visiting the hospital.
“In less than a week, everything will be gone,” Destiny told The Daily Beast, just outside his home in the town of Akamukhpa, south of Cross River. “We have started applying calamine lotion. [a medication commonly used to treat mild itchiness] On top of that, the results will be displayed immediately. ”
Monkeypox, a viral zoonotic disease caused by a virus transmitted from animals to humans, was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and then in 1970. It was discovered in the same country in the same year. It is currently unique to West and Central African rodent and monkey populations, including Nigeria, causing influenza-like symptoms and rashes in infected individuals. Recently, the virus has spread in Europe and the United States, warning that the disease can quickly develop into a pandemic.
Few people seem to believe that the disease actually exists around Destiny’s compounds. As with some COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, many believe it is another “so-called” illness devised by the West with the aim of introducing vaccines to reduce Africa’s population. This is the kind of belief that has already prevented coronavirus vaccination in Nigeria, with only nearly 17 million in countries where 200 million people are fully vaccinated.
“The United States has resumed from another story about the outbreak of an infectious disease,” tweeted one of Destiny’s neighbors when he heard Destiny speak to The Daily Beast. “they [Americans] I saw Africans disagree with their COVID scam, so I introduced this [monkeypox] To scare people. “
But since many people very close to fate live negatively, the signs that the illness lives very close to them are clear. According to her sister, a woman with a rash and swollen lymph nodes on her body rushed to a traditional practitioner’s house about 200 km (120 miles) because of a “mental attack” by her enemies. He said he had to. She is away for treatment. Her brother said that no one has seen or heard her since then. Another 80-year-old man who died a week ago was said to have had monkeypox symptoms, but he had not been seen by a doctor.
“Many people are afraid that if they come to the hospital and are diagnosed with an illness, they may be separated from their families for long periods of time,” said Dr. Collins Anyachi, Ph.D., Department of Family Medicine, University Teaching Hospital (UCTH). I am. ” I told The Daily Beast in Calabar, the capital of the Cross River. “They rather prefer to patronize patented drug dealers and traditional practitioners who tell them they’ll be well in a few days just by prescribing medicines and herbs.”
Cases like Akamkpa show that Nigeria has almost certainly failed to record many cases of monkeypox. This is especially true in rural areas where surveillance is very poor.
Unlike in the West, the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria, where the disease is endemic, did not begin this year. It started in 2017. From that time until nowThere are more than 260 suspicious cases, more than 260 confirmed, one-seventh of which were recorded earlier this year.
However, Nigerian government records of increasing cases of monkeypox do not tell the true story of the surge in disease in Europe and the United States.
Officially Nigeria announced From January 1st to June 12th, 141 suspicious cases and 36 confirmed cases from 12 states.
“There is also the danger of stigma,” Anyachi said. “When people are officially diagnosed with monkeypox, society tends to treat them with contempt. We have seen it often happen to people suffering from leprosy.”
But beyond the hesitation of people visiting hospitals, authorities have the challenge of monitoring the outbreak of monkeypox. In the first place, disease surveillance in Nigeria was generally hampered by the outbreak of COVID-19. For example, in the case of Lassa fever, about 1,200 confirmed cases were recorded in 2020, when the new coronavirus emerged. The number dropped to 510 in 2021 as over-the-top health authorities paid more attention to the more contagious COVID-19. However, as COVID is no longer dominant, the number of Lassa fever infections identified in the first quarter of 2022 alone has increased to 751. As with Lassa fever, many infections were overlooked in 2021 due to insufficient attention paid to monkeypox.
To make matters worse, countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom are providing vaccines manufactured by Bavarian Nordic (approved for monkeypox by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019) to high-risk contacts. Nigeria could not get the vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) drug for the prevention and treatment of monkeypox is “transmitted from one person to another by close contact with contaminants such as lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and beds. To do”.
“”You can’t start spending so much money at this stage [in a hospital] When it is not life-threatening.“
In a country with only 40,000 doctors out of 200 million, the Nigerian medical department will not be able to handle the spread of monkeypox cases in poor rural areas with overcrowded and dire hygiene. I have a concern.
“The main concern is the possibility of misdiagnosis in primary health facilities available to people in the local community,” Dr. Elijah Akpe Olim, a longtime community health worker in Cross River, told Daily. beast. “Often seen in these health centers are community health extension workers who are not professionally trained in how to deal with such cases.”
According to Dr. Olim, who is currently working at the UCTH Faculty of Pharmacy, because of the similar symptoms, “Patients who may be suffering from monkeypox mistakenly say they are infected with a disease like measles. There is a possibility of being infected. For the time being. “
As for Destiny, he says he will only seek treatment in the hospital when his son’s illness is “out of their control.”
“At this stage, you can’t start spending so much money. [in a hospital] When it’s not life-threatening, “Destiny said. “It’s too early to waste money.”