Nigeria has launched a study to identify the cause of a monkeypox outbreak that has infected two people in the UK with the potentially fatal disease.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said it collaborated with Public Health England after two seemingly unrelated cases of monkeypox were reported in Cornwall and Blackpool.
Both patients are believed to have traveled to Nigeria, where a significant outbreak of the virus began 12 months ago. Seven of the 113 people who are known to have contracted the virus in Nigeria have died.
Cases of the disease, which are normally spread from animals to humans, have been reported in 16 of the 36 states of Nigeria.
"Following the recent report of the two cases in the UK, the NCDC has worked with the British Public Health Agency to investigate these cases," the NCDC said in a statement adding that the body was taking steps "to strengthen monitoring, detection and response to cases of monkeypox. "
Monkeypox remains a rare disease and is usually limited to remote areas of central and western Africa where the local population is likely to come into contact with infected wild animals. The disease is often spread by handling monkeys and rodents, health officials say.