CDC Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

Nigeria’s Monkeypox Travel Alert Updated

Nigeria Travel Alerts issued for Lassa Fever, Measles, Monkeypox, Polio, and Yellow Fever outbreaks by the CDC for 2020
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Africa (Vax Before Travel)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update to a Level 1 Travel Alert for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, regarding an ongoing Monkeypox outbreak.

The CDC’s revised Travel Alert issued on January 7, 2020, says ‘health officials from 3 different countries reported from 2018 through 2019, a total of 5 cases of monkeypox in travelers coming from Nigeria.’

Nigeria’s initial ‘Practice Usual Precautions’ Travel Alert regarding monkeypox was issued on May 21, 2019. 

On December 4, 2019, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed the 5th individual had been diagnosed with monkeypox in England. This case increases the United Kingdom’s total number of monkeypox cases to 3.

Dr. Meera Chand, a Consultant Microbiologist at PHE, said in a related statement, ‘We are following up with those who have had close contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary.’

PHE says ‘Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people and the risk to the general public in England is very low.’

‘It is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks.’

‘However, severe illness can occur in some individuals. Monkeypox fatality rates can reach about 10 percent of people who contract it.’

PHE says monkeypox’s initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. 

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

If a person thinks they may have monkeypox, they should seek medical care right away, says the CDC. 

But, before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell the staff about your recent travels.

The CDC advises clinicians that when a patient presents to a healthcare facility with fever and vesicular or pustular rash, a combination of standard, contact, and airborne infection control precautions should be applied. 

And, if you suspect monkeypox in a patient with relevant travel history, notify infection control personnel and your local health department immediately.

Additionally, the CDC says ‘if you are going to an area with monkeypox, you can protect yourself against infection by taking these actions:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Making sure your hands are clean if you do.
  • Avoiding contact with infected animals, people who are sick, and any related materials.

Additionally, the CDC included the country of Nigeria in various Level 1 and Level 2 Travel Alerts updated on January 9, 2020, such as the following:

  • Polio in Africa - January 03, 2020 - There are polio outbreaks in several countries in Africa. CDC recommends that all travelers to these countries be vaccinated fully against polio.
  • Yellow Fever in Nigeria - January 03, 2020 - A large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria began in September 2017. The outbreak is now spread throughout the country. Travelers going to Nigeria should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there.
  • Lassa Fever in Nigeria - January 03, 2020 - Nigerian health officials have declared an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria. Travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rats.
  • Global Measles Outbreak Notice - January 03, 2020 - Measles is in many countries and outbreaks of the disease are occurring around the world. Before you travel internationally, regardless of where you are going, make sure you are protected fully against measles.

These CDC Travel Alerts and the UK’s PHE advisory preceded and are unrelated to the travel restrictions announced by the US Government on January 31, 2020.

Nigeria is a country of about 200 million people located on the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west.

Nigeria is a very popular tourist destination, welcoming about 1.8 million visitors in 2016.

Travel vaccination news published by Vax-Before-Travel.


Article by
Dani Reiter