Monkey pox hits Akwa Ibom; state govt announces outbreak of virus


Akwa Ibom State has announced the outbreak of monkey pox in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of the state with a total of 18 suspected cases though only one has been clinically confirmed.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong who announced this in a press conference in Uyo on Friday, said results of five cases were still being awaited and that the 18 cases all reside with three communities of Ikot Akpaden, Ikot Enin and Ndon in Mkpat Enin just like the monkey pox incidents of 2018 in the state which occurred only in same local government area.

Ukpong said since the outbreak of the disease, the state Ministry of Health through its Public Health Department had activated its infectious control procedure to control the epidemic and has so far successfully confined it to the affected local government.

He, however, said the disease was present in the neighbouring states as such Akwa Ibom was still at risk of recording new cases.

“In Nigeria, as at October 24, 93 suspected cases have been reported; 43 cases were confirmed, only one death was reported, and that was in Lagos State. Although ten states were affected, Lagos, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom , Rivers , Imo, Enugu and Anambra states with a total number of 93 cases in the country, 59% were from two states: Delta, (28%), and Lagos (26%).

“Since the beginning of the outbreak in 2017, 176 confirmed cases were reported and nine deaths before this year’s outbreak.

“Monkey pox is a rare viral zoonotic infection, that is, an infection transmitted from animals to humans; that occurs sporadically, primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical forests. It is caused by monkey pox viruses which also cause small pox and cow pox.

“Case fatality in outbreak has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups,” Ukpong said.

He advised the people to prevent contracting the disease by avoiding contact with animals that could harbour the virus including sick or dead animals in areas where monkey pox cases have occurred.

He also advised the people to avoid contact with any material that had been in contact with a sick animal, and to isolate potentially-infected animal from other animals.

Other measure to take to prevent contracting the epidemic according to him include quarantining any animal that might have come into contact with an infected animal by handling them with standard precautions and observing for monkey pox symptoms for 30 days;  hand washing with soap and water after contact with infected animals; thoroughly cooking of all animal products before eating; and regular hand washing after caring for or visiting sick people.

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