Monkeypox: U.S. debunks reports of U.S.-controlled Laboratories in Nigeria

The United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria has reacted to what it termed recent misleading posts on social media that wrongly speculate on the origin of the current global outbreak of monkeypox disease, and supposedly call for WHO to investigate so-called “U.S.-controlled laboratories” in Nigeria.

Statement from the Public Affairs Section of the Mission, categorically stated that such reports were pure fabrication and that there was zero merit to any allegations regarding the use of US-assisted Nigerian laboratories in the spread of monkeypox.

The statement further clarified that no “U.S.-controlled” laboratories exist in Nigeria exist.
It was also posited that the falsehoods detract from the work that the United States, in close coordination with Nigerian and multilateral partners, accomplish together on public health, including in disease surveillance, diagnosis, prevention, and control.

It said the collaborative work between Nigeria and the United States has provided opportunities for technical assistance in capacity building, equipment, commodities-consumables, and funding to critical public health programme, hospitals and laboratories which all contribute greatly to the prevention and amelioration of global disease outbreaks.
Also contained in the statement was an explanation that Monkeypox was not a new disease, nor is it unique to Nigeria or the region, having first been diagnosed in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC.

Read: WHO Issues Advisory to Tackle Ebola Disease in DRC

It said as the two countries work together to contain its spread, exported cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, United States, and other parts of the world.

“The United States government continues to lend its support and work closely with the government of Nigeria in responding to the outbreak. Through our collaborative interventions, U.S. government agencies working in Nigeria (including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Program) and their implementing partners have supported both national and state laboratories with technical assistance and funding.

“These laboratories are Nigerian, and U.S. support enables them to provide essential services for the public good and the health of Nigeria’s citizens. Especially important, our support to laboratories across the country extends to quality improvements that ensure they have appropriate levels of biosafety and biosecurity requirements in place.

“We will continue to collaborate with the Nigerian government on the ongoing global monkeypox and COVID-19 outbreaks and intensify support to Nigeria in other areas on which we have proudly partnered over the years, such as HIV epidemic control, tuberculosis eradication, malaria elimination, prevention of vaccine-preventable disease, and enhancing food and nutrition.

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