8 October 2017
By James Ojo
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Saturday, enjoined Nigerians not to lose sleep over Monkeypox outbreak in Bayelsa State, assuring that the situation was under control.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu stated that already, the centre has rolled out several measures aimed at managing cases of the disease and prevent further spread, noting that if cases of the disease are detected early and well managed, the chances are that the affected persons will survive.
Highlighting some of the measures, Ihekweazu stressed that a Rapid Response Team, RRT, from NCDC has been deployed to support the Bayelsa State Government in the investigations and public health response, while doctors and healthcare providers have been advised on what to do.
The NCDC boss went on to reveal that so far, 13 cases were reported, explaining that most of them have been discharged but four are still receiving treatment but all of them are doing well and no death reported.
Explaining the nature of the disease, he said: “It is a self-limiting illness which means that there is no specific treatment for the virus. The key thing is to bring in patients with characteristic rash on their face which is what stands Monkeypox out from other diseases.
“Monkeypox looks like an extreme case of chickenpox but a little bit more severe and the disease looks and sounds a lot worse than it actually is.
“The virus circulates in a few more animals apart from monkeys like rats, squirrels and bush meat and the period of increased risk is at the point of killing, touching or preparing them.
“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 measure 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.”
According to him, Monkey-pox infection is a relatively rare disease that has previously been reported in Nigeria in the 1970s, pointing out that it is primarily a zoonotic infection that is transmitted primarily from animals to humans, with limited subsequent person-to-person transmission.
He added that there is no serious aftermath of the disease except staying with the scare of the rash for quite a while.