Lagos State Government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), over the weekend begun a surveillance tour of livestock and bushmeat markets across the State to test animals for components of monkeypox.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this when he received in audience members of the One Health Team of the National Centre for Disease Control, noted that the exercise is aimed at preventing the outbreak of monkeypox disease in Lagos.
Lawal explained that the monkeypox disease is a trans-boundary viral disease that is common among people who have contact with wild animals and develop symptoms such as fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
“Smallpox is also a viral zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus and it occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa; it is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, although human to human transmission also occurs usually by contact with an infected person’s body fluid, lesions, respiratory droplets as well as contaminated materials such as beddings,” he averred.
The Commissioner reiterated the commitment of the State Government to ensuring the safety of lives of Lagosians, hence it would do everything necessary to prevent the emergence of the disease in the State.
He pointed out that officials of the Ministry of Agriculture alongside representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Centre for Disease Control and African Field Epidemiology Network have been deployed to the field to conduct a surveillance of the monkeypox virus in livestock markets across the State.
Lawal added that relevant organ and tissue samples would be collected from these animals under strict biosafety standard protocols, appropriately stored at the required temperature and transported to the laboratory for diagnostic testing.
While noting that the animal component surveillance teams will test the animals for the presence of the monkeypox virus, Lawal added that tests would also be conducted for other zoonotic viruses like the Lassa virus in small mammals with strict epidemiology guidance.
Lawal appreciated members of the One Health team of the NCDC, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and AFENET for their unwavering efforts geared towards putting a stop to the outbreak of the disease in the State.
He urged the people not to panic but, however, called for precautionary measures such as maintaining a high level of hygiene and reporting of any suspected monkeypox cases to the appropriate authorities.