ALERT! Monkeypox Spreads From Bayelsa to Rivers and Akwa Ibom States

An official has confirmed that a new case of the rare deadly viral disease Monkeypox has been recorded in Akwa Ibom State, causing panic in neighbouring states in the south-south and south-east regions.

At least 13 people suspected to be affected by the viral disease are on admission in hospitals in neighboring Bayelsa and Rivers states, Premium Times reports.

The Commissioner for Information and strategy in Akwa Ibom, Charles Udoh, on Saturday confirmed that one case has been recorded in the state, while two other suspected cases are under investigation.

in a statement issued in Uyo, confirmed the single case. He also said that the state government was investigating two more cases suspected to be Monkeypox.

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”Monkeypox currently has no treatment and no vaccine. It looks like small pox but the rashes are larger while the disease is milder.

The era of avoiding excessive handshake, regular hand-washing and abstinence from bush meat is here again.

We will provide more information subsequently,” the commissioner said.

The deadly disease was first reported in Bayelsa state last week with a medical doctor and 10 others quarantined (read here).

It was later gathered that the number of suspected cases in Bayelsa increased to 13. Three suspected cases were later reported in Rivers State.

Samples from suspected victims in Bayelsa and Rivers have been sent to the World Health Organisation, WHO laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for confirmation.

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After the first report of the suspected cases in Bayelsa, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole and the Executive Director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, had called for calm among Nigerians saying the government is taking the required steps to manage the disease and to prevent further spread.

Nigerians have also been advised to avoid foods like monkeys, bush meat and dead animals in other not to contract the disease.

What you should know about the disease.

The Monkey pox virus was first identified in 1970 as the cause of a smallpox-like illness in humans in remote African locations first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkeypox.”

According to Vanguard, the first recorded human case of the virus was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. There were also reports of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The following year, 1971, there was 1 case in Cote d’ivoire and 2 cases in Nigeria. Then in 1976 there were 2 cases in Cameroon and again in Nigeria in 1978, 1 case was recorded. Since then monkeypox has remains strictly a disease of Central and Western African countries, except in 2003, when 47  cases were reported in the USA.

The 2003 US outbreak is the only time monkeypox infections in humans were documented outside of Africa.  Most of those affected had close contact with pet prairie dogs.

The current outbreak in Nigeria is of West African origin and associated with milder disease, fewer deaths, and limited human-to-human transmission.

Studies have shown that the monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus, that belongs to the same family of viruses that includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

The natural reservoir remains unknown. However, African rodent species are expected to play a role in transmission.

The Monkeypox virus can cause an illness with a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling.

In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10 per cent of infected cases. There is no specific medicine to treat the disease, but intensive supportive care helps patients to recover fully.

Photo credit: Punch

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