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EDITORIAL: Checking the spread of ‘monkey pox’ in Kwara

It is unfortunate that ‘monkey pox’, which broke out in Bayelsa State on September 22, is spreading to other parts of the country, Kwara not inclusive. It is necessary to urgently halt the spread of this viral disease which has led to a quarantine of eleven persons, including a medical doctor, in an isolation centre at Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Okolobiri, Bayelsa State. Samples of the virus have been sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for confirmation.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 33 cases of the disease in seven states: Bayelsa, Akwa0-Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Ogun, Lagos and Ekiti. So far, five victims have reportedly been discharged from NDUTH. The NCDC and the epidemiological team are tracking 49 other persons who had contact with the infected persons. The NCDC Executive Director, Dr. ChikweIhekweazu, says that the Federal Ministry of Health, through the agency, is assisting the affected states to check the spread of the virus.

The agency has equally activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to coordinate the investigation and response to the disease. According to medical experts, monkey pox is a viral illness caused by a group of viruses, which include chicken pox and small pox. The virus, as the name implies, was first seen in a monkey. It can also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes. The disease was first noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and later spread to other countries in the West African region.
The virus is of two types: the Central African and the Western African. The West African type has no records of mortality. Some of the symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, body pain, malaise, enlargement of the glands, sore throat and vesicular rash. Its rashes are bigger than those caused by chicken pox. The disease is also airborne and highly infectious. The health authorities enjoin all Nigerians to report suspected cases of monkey pox to relevant health agencies or the nearest hospital.

People are advised to pay attention to hygiene, especially regular washing of hands and maintenance of a clean environment. Health workers are urged to maintain ‘barrier nursing’ while managing suspected cases. The people should also avoid contact with dead animals and their secretions because the secretions of dead animals are highly contagious. We commend the efforts of the health authorities at the federal and state levels to contain this disease. They should be sustained. The government must also embark on massive sensitization campaigns on the causes and symptoms of the disease and where to access treatment.

All health authorities in the country must be put on red alert. All those affected by the disease should be isolated and promptly treated to avoid its spread. Nigerians should avoid monkey meat and ensure that all animal meats are properly cooked before consumption. Undue interaction with bush animals should be avoided. All levels of government should muster the will to contain this disease in the same way the Ebola virus disease was defeated. The good news is that nobody has died so far from the monkey pox infection and the disease is self-limiting, as its symptoms only last from 14 to 21days.

The incubation period of monkey pox is 6 to 16 days, while the disease confers life immunity on those who fall victim to it. It is also reassuring that the Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had while briefing the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on public health challenges, urged Nigerians not to panic because many of the cases reported so far do not fit into the classic prototype of monkey pox. We call on health authorities at the three tiers of government particularly Kwara State Ministry of Health to work in concert to check the spread of monkey pox.
EDITORIAL: Checking the spread of ‘monkey pox’ in Kwara Reviewed by Unknown on October 17, 2017 Rating: 5

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