Reports reaching us state that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed 12 cases of suspected Monkey pox in Bayelsa state, with 32 close contacts of the cases placed under watch. No death has been recorded. Health workers are strongly advised to practice universal precautions when handling patients and/or body fluids at all times, while all suspected cases should be reported to the Local government area or State Disease Surveillance & Notification Officers.
The Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole called for calm, saying that Health Facilities in Bayelsa State are on the alert, indicating that patients suspected of having Monkey pox have been quarantined while supportive treatments are being offered to the victims. Investigations are still ongoing and our partners are working with us on the reported outbreak while the NCDC team in Bayelsa would give support. He said although Monkey pox could not be confirmed until Laboratory investigations by World Health Organization WHO referral Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal had done so.
Monkey Pox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted primarily from animals to humans with limited subsequent person to person transmission. Most common animal hosts are squirrels, rats and sometimes monkeys. In previous outbreaks, death had occurred between 1 and 10% of infected cases with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
In humans, the symptoms of monkey pox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox.
The illness begins with:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. The illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks.
- Contact with infected monkeys
- Contact with infected rodents i.e rats and squirrels
- Bites and scratches from infected animals
- Eating inadequately cooked meat
- Contact with respiratory secretions of an infected person
- Contact with blood, body fluids, rash of an infected person
- Contact with clothing or beddings of an infected person.
There are no specific treatments or vaccines available but outbreaks can be controlled. However Intensive supportive care helps patients to recover fully. Vaccination against small pox has been proven to highly effective in preventing monkey pox in the past.
- Avoid contact with animals that are sick or found dead in areas where Monkey pox occurs.
- Always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives or soiled beddings
- Avoid eating dead animals, bush meat and particularly bush monkey.
- Avoid self medication.
To report any case of suspected Monkey pox, go to the Local government area or the State Disease Surveillance & Notification Officers.