The dreaded but rare viral zoonotic disease (from animal to man) caused by Monkey pox virus that recently began in Bayelsa has reportedly hit Lagos state with two cases allegedly recorded.
The National Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, has said that 31 cases of the monkeypox virus have been recorded in seven states.
The affected states include Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River States.
The first case of monkeypox in Bayelsa has been traced to a monkey, but the biology of the virus allows it to be transmitted from human to human once it gets into human populations
A week ago, fear had 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.
Monkey Pox is a viral illness caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and small pox. That the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently it had outbreaks in the West African region. The virus has two types, the Central African and the West African types with the West African type being milder and having no records of mortality.
However, the Lagos state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said there is the need to sensitize members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease.
Dr. Idris said two cases have been reported in the state and that one of the victims has just returned to Lagos from Bayelsa State, where the incident was first recorded last week.
He said there are thirty-two (31) reported cases across the country, with two (2) in Lagos.
Dr. Idris told newsmen at a news conference on Monday that it has become necessary to sensitise residents about the viral disease which has been reported in some states.
“Though no confirmed case has been recorded, there is the need to sensitize members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the policy of the State Government,” he said.
“I need to state that though there is no specific vaccine for the disease, vaccination against Smallpox has been proven to be 85 percent effective in preventing Monkeypox. There is also no specific anti-viral therapy for Monkeypox, however, the disease is self-limiting and could be managed conservatively.”
“The symptoms in human is similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patient although less severe.
“Monkey Pox Should be suspected in any person with rash, fever, chills, sweats, headache backache, lymphadenopathy, sore-throats, cough and shortness of breath.
“Residents are urged to adequate measures in order to reduce the risk of contracting the diseases.
“Health workers should have a high index of suspicion any person with the above symptoms in order to improve case detection.
“I need to state that though there is no specific to a vaccine for diseases, vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85 percent effective in preventing Monkeypox.
“There is also no specific anti-viral therapy for Monkeypox.
“However the diseases are self-limiting and could be managed conservatively.”
“The preventive measures to be taken against the spread of the disease include; avoiding close contact with infected people; avoiding consumption of bushmeat and dead animals; cooking of meat and meat product thoroughly before eating and washing hands with soap and running water frequently and thoroughly.”