The Monkeypox epidemic is beginning to spread across the country after one new case of infection was recorded in Akwa Ibom State.
This was confirmed by a health official in the state after no fewer than 13 people suspected to be infected with the viral disease are on admittance in hospitals in neighbouring Bayelsa and Rivers states, Premium Times writes.
In a statement in the capital Uyo, Saturday, Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh, claimed the state government is investigating two more cases suspected to be monkeypox.
“Monkeypox currently has no treatment and no vaccine,” Mr. Udoh said. “It looks like small pox but the rashes are larger while the disease is milder.
“The era of avoiding excessive handshake, regular hand-washing and abstinence from bush meat is here again.
“We will provide more information subsequently,” the commissioner said.
One medical doctor and 10 others were last week quarantined following the first outbreak in Bayelsa. The number of suspected cases in the state has since increased to 13.
Samples from suspected victims in Bayelsa and Rivers have been sent to the World Health Organisation, WHO laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for confirmation while the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole called for calm among Nigerians saying the government is doing all it could to control the spread.
Meanwhile, here are some useful tips on how to avoid contracting the disease.
So how do you get it?
1. It’s infectious meaning it can come to you. The monkeypox virus is transmitted via contact with an infected animal’s blood, flesh, bite, or an infected human.
2. It’s a virus. Viral infections are generally harder to treat than bacteria’s and the monkeypox virus is a rare type.
3. It can cause fatal illnesses and quick deaths, especially in younger age groups.
4. It has NO treatment or vaccine but outbreaks can be controlled.
5. The incubation period is 5 -21 days. Symptoms typically last 14 – 21 days with severe cases occurring among children with longer virus exposure.
6. Monkeypox virus can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory by a number of different tests.
It manifests as various stages of rash and an intense weakness among other things. Rashes, ranging from a few to several thousands, begins on the face, then palms and feet soles. The lesions (or rashes) later become fluid-filled blisters and lastly crusts which can affect the oral membranes, genitalia, eyelids and eyeballs.
What do you do?
1. Cook animal flesh or blood properly before consuming. Monkeypox virus remain active in infected primates or rodent even after their death.
2. Stay away from body fluids, lesions, respiratory tract secretions, or objects recently contaminated by monkeypox patients. Transmission occurs via droplets respiratory particles.
3. Don’t pick up stray animals especially if you live in the tropics.
4. Immediately quarantine infected animals or humans. Close physical contact is a significant risk factor and protective equipment must be worn while providing care for patients.
5. Regular handwashing is encouraged.
6. If you have been in the proximity of an infected person, go for definitive testing in the laboratory.