….Says no death recorded
Recently, fear griped residents of Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, following the outbreak of the viral epidemic, Monkey Pox, in the state, with report that 10 persons had already been infected while authorities in the state said they were tracking 49 persons alleged to have come in contact with the infected persons.
Though there are worries in the country presently over the Monkey Pox which has spread to Ogun, Ekiti, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers respectively, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has assured that early detection of the virus would lead to better management and survival of patients.
Ihekweazu said of the 13 reported cases in Bayelsa State, only four are still receiving treatment, while the discharged patients are doing well, with no loss of life.
He said that if cases are detected early and well managed, the chances are that they will survive.
“It is a self limiting illness, which means that there is no specific treatment for the virus. Doctors and healthcare providers have been directed on what to do;
the key thing is to bring in patients with characteristic rash on their faces which is what stands monkey pox out from other diseases”, Ihekweazu explained.
According to the World Health Organisation, monkey pox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
He advised residents of affected states to be wary of touching or coming in contact with wild animals, for self protection against the virus.
This is even as the House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to explain the measures taken by the Federal Government to tackle the outbreak and spread of the monkey pox virus, beside curtailing other viruses.
Giving further insight on how to contain the virus, Ihekweazu said the people at risk are those who kill, touch or cook the animals, that is; “Those who come in contact with the animals and don’t use protective measures or wash their hands after wards.
Once the virus gets into the human population, then there is a risk of human-to-human transmission, which is what has happened in Bayelsa, but the first contact is from animal to human.”
Ihekweazu however noted that personal, family and environmental hygiene – especially hand washing, was key and necessary for all residents of the affected states to observe, to avoid any form of virus or contagious disease.
According to him, apart from monkeys, antelopes and wild rats could also harbour the virus.
He also urged hunters, butchers and those that prepare bush meat for consumption to be wary.
Measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkey pox virus include avoiding contact with dead or infected animals, especially those that are sick or found dead in areas where monkey pox occurs.
The public is advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives humans or soiled beddings.
Health care workers are strongly advised to practice universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times. They are also urged to be alert, be familiar with the symptoms and maintain a high index of suspicion.
All suspected cases should be reported to the Local Government Area or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.