Monkeypox outbreak: FG awaits confirmation from senegal
‘Be alert, avoid crowded places, eating dead animals, bush meat, particularly bush monkeys’ – Minister advises Nigerians
ABUJA – The Federal Government on Thursday said it could not confirm the reported outbreak of Monkeypox in Bayelsa State until reports of investigations on the disease at World Health Organization’s referral laboratory in Dakar, Senegal are ready.
In a release by the Federal Ministry of Health, Minister of Health in Abuja , Prof. Isaac Adewole, called for calm over the reported outbreak, and said government had taken necessary measures to contain possible spread of the ailment.
The minister said in the statement that health facilities in Bayelsa state had been placed on alert, the patients suspected of having monkeypox quarantined, while supportive treatments were being offered to the victims.
“Investigation is still on-going and our partners are working with us on this reported outbreak, while the NCDC team in Bayelsa state would give support,” Adewole was quoted as saying.
“Prof. Adewole said although Monkeypox could not be confirmed until laboratory investigations by WHO referral laboratory in Dakar, Senegal says so, he assured that, Monkeypox was milder and had no record of mortality.
“The symptoms include headache, fever, back pains and in advanced cases, rashes bigger than those caused by chicken pox. Anyone with symptoms of monkeypox should immediately report to the nearest health facility, while health workers are advised to maintain a high index of suspicion and observe safety percussion.
“He said that the virus was mild and there was no known treatment and no preventive vaccines hence the public should be at alert and avoid crowded places as much as possible. He advised the Public to avoid eating dead animals, bush meat and particularly bush monkeys,” the release said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, in a similar statement to newsmen on Thursday said it was notified of the suspected case of the virus in an 11 year old male patient whom, the agency said, presented himself to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
It said subsequently, 11 other cases were identified, adding that all the cases were receiving appropriate medical care. “All the patients are improving clinically and there have been no deaths. As at 1st October 2017, 32 close contacts of the cases have been identified, advised appropriately and are being monitored.
Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who signed the statement appealed to health workers to continue to manage their patients without fear. He said that as long as universal infection prevention and control practices are strictly adhered to by all clinical staff, the chances of transmission of any disease would be minimal.
Ihekweazu however said the disease kills between one to 10 percent of its victims, against the Minister of Health’s statement which said the disease had no record of mortality.
NCDC said its rapid response team was immediately deployed to support the Bayelsa State government in the investigations and public health response to the outbreak.
“The team has been supporting the Bayelsa State Department of Public Health and the State Epidemiologist to respond to the outbreak. As the outbreak investigation and response continues, the Bayelsa State Government has started an aggressive public enlightenment campaign to advise clinicians and the public on the symptoms of the disease and the steps required to manage the cases and to prevent further spread. NCDC has also collected appropriate clinical samples from the cases and these are being analysed through the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.
“Monkeypox infection is a relatively rare disease that has previously been reported in Nigeria in the 1970s. It is primarily a zoonotic infection i.e. transmitted primarily from animals to humans, with limited subsequent person-to-person transmission. The most common animal hosts are squirrels, rats and sometimes, monkeys. The Monkeypox virus can cause an illness with the following symptoms; a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling. In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10% of infected cases. Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, when intensive supportive care is provided most patients recover fully.
“Measures that can be taken to prevent infection with Monkeypox virus include avoiding contact with the animals listed above, especially animals that are sick or found dead in areas where Monkeypox occurs. The public is advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives humans or soiled beddings.
“Nigerians are advised to remain calm and supportive of public health authorities, avoid selfmedication and report to the nearest health facility if feeling unwell or notice any of the above symptoms in anyone around you.
“Health care workers are strongly advised to practice universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times. They are also urged to be alert, be familiar with the symptoms and maintain a high index of suspicion. All suspected cases should be reported to the Local Government Area or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers,” the statement said.