Barely two weeks after the detection of the suspected zoonotic virus-related disease, Monkey pox in Abgura, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, several cases were recorded across seven states in Nigeria.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that the affected states include Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River States. However, Ogun state government said it has no reported case of the disease, but one case of the suspected virus was reported in the state.
In a statement on Monday, 9th October, the NCDC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the agency was awaiting the confirmation of laboratory results from suspected cases which was sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal.
Meanwhile, The Commissioner for information Bayelsa state, Daniel Iworiso-Markson stated that seven patients out of the thirteen initially infected in the state have fully recovered. Cross River state recorded one case of the suspected disease, although the victim has been quarantined. Three cases were also reported in Rumuolumeni, Eneka and Psychiatric Road in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Two cases were reported in Lagos State as one of the victims was said to have returned from Bayelsa State, also two incidents of the disease were recorded in Okemisi, Ekiti State. Similarly, one case was reported in Akwa Ibom state with two other patients in the state under close investigation.
The risk of its spread to other unaffected states is also high especially if newly infected individuals travel to any of these states. (which is similar to the case of Lagos state).
In 2014, Nigeria faced a comparable crisis with a rapid spread of the Ebola virus. However, the crisis did not reach an endemic stage and Nigeria was declared Ebola-free by the WHO within three months.
Here are some precautionary measures listed by the Center for Disease Control that can be taken to prevent the rapid spread of the disease:
- Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkey pox occurs).
- Avoid contact with materials that have been in contact with a sick animal.
- Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
- Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for individuals infected with the disease.