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Monkey pox: FG confirms additional six cases

  • Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa Enugu now have virus

  • Suspected cases rise to 94 in 11 states

Dr. Ehanire
Minister of State for Health

The Federal Government on Friday confirmed additional six cases of Monkey pox in Nigeria.

The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Akwa Ibom and Enugu states now have the virus, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said in a statement made available to Nigeria Health Online by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Only Bayelsa had the previous three confirmed cases, but it was confirmed on Friday that the state had two additional cases, Akwa Ibom, two cases, while both Abuja and Enugu have a confirmed case each.

The Government however appealed for calm, saying the disease would no doubt cause fear among the public so long more cases are confirmed. It said all affected person are receiving adequate treatment and that there had been no casualties since the disease surfaced early this month.

It called for adherence to preventive measures against the disease by the public, adding that state governments, Federal Government and partners are working together to bring spread of the virus to a halt.

With the new update, Lagos, Ekiti, Nasarawa and Rivers states where suspected cases had been reported previously do not have any confirmed case yet.

“As at the 25th of October 2017, a total of 94 suspected cases have been reported from 11 States (Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” the government said on Friday.

 It assured that investigations are on-going to see if any of the new cases has a link with the Bayelsa cluster, where the outbreak started. It emphasized the need for calm among members of the public, as according to the government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is working with all affected states to ensure case finding and adequate management. 

“The Federal Ministry of Health, through the NCDC, is in close contact with all State Epidemiology Teams, as well as the health facilities providing clinical care to both suspected and confirmed cases. State Commissioners of Health have been advised to place all health care facilities and Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers on alert, to ensure early case detection, reporting and effective treatment. 

 “A National-level Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by the NCDC with support from our development partners, is coordinating outbreak investigation and response across affected States. The EOC includes the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as experts from partner agencies. The EOC provides daily support to State Ministries of Health in active case finding, epidemiological investigation, contact tracing, case management, psychosocial support and risk communication. 

“The NCDC has also deployed Rapid Response Teams to the four States with confirmed cases. Measures have been put in place to ensure proper investigation of all reported cases, effective sample collection and testing, as well as case management of all suspected and confirmed cases. Risk communication activities have been heightened to advise the public as well as healthcare workers on preventive measures. A nationwide communications campaign has begun, to inform Nigerians of key preventive measures to take to curtail the further spread of Monkey pox. 

“The NCDC has been working with poxvirus experts from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that every available step is taken to trace how this outbreak may be spreading, and in understanding the links between case cluster, in order to prevent further spread.  

“An Interim National Guideline for Monkey pox has been developed and disseminated to all States for coordination of response activities. This is also available,” the government said.

Monkey pox is a largely self-limiting disease i.e. a disease that resolves itself. Generalised vesicular skin rashes, fever, and painful jaw swelling are characteristic symptoms associated with an infection. Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, when intensive supportive care is provided virtually all patients recover fully, as we have seen with the current outbreak.

 It is thought that people could get Monkey pox if they are bitten or scratched by an animal, or contact animal blood in preparing bush meat or have contact with an infected animal’s body fluids or sores. Monkey pox may also be spread between people through prolonged face-to-face contact, or through contact with body fluids or sores of an infected person, or items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.)

 Measures that can be taken to prevent infection with Monkey pox virus include avoiding contact with animals that could carry the virus such as rodents and bush meat, especially animals that appear sick or were found dead in areas where Monkey pox occurs. 

The public is advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or, when caring for sick relatives, or managing soiled beddings, the statement from the Health ministry said.

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