The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has announced laboratory confirmation of six additional cases among the suspected cases of Monkeypox.
These include two cases each in Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States, one in Enugu State and one in the Federal Capital Territory, making it a total of nine confirmed cases of Monkeypox in Nigeria.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa. The monkeypox virus is transmitted to people from various wild animals but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission. Smallpox was eradicated in 1980. There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled. Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective.
He called for calm among members of the public, as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is working with all affected States to ensure case finding and adequate management.
He added that as frightening as the manifestation of the ailment may seem, no fatality has been recorded to date.
As at October 25, 2017, a total of 94 suspected cases have been reported from 11 States (Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Below is an infographic representation of how spread the monkeypox infection is within the country. So far, it cuts across 11 states with 94 reported cases of infection.
He noted that the newly confirmed cases are patients already being managed by public health authorities and have been receiving appropriate clinical care since the onset of the illness.
The Federal Ministry of Health, through the NCDC, is in close contact with all State Epidemiology Teams, as well as the health facilities providing clinical care to both suspected and confirmed cases.
State Commissioners of Health have been advised to place all health care facilities and disease surveillance and notification officers on alert, to ensure early case detection, reporting, and effective treatment.
Ehanire said, “A National-level Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) led by the NCDC with support from our development partners, is coordinating outbreak investigation and response across affected States.
“The EOC includes the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as experts from partner agencies.
“The NCDC has also deployed Rapid Response Teams to the four States with confirmed cases. Measures have been put in place to ensure proper investigation of all reported cases, effective sample collection, and testing, as well as case management of all suspected and confirmed cases. Risk communication activities have been heightened to advise the public as well as healthcare workers on preventive measures. A nationwide communications campaign has begun, to inform Nigerians of key preventive measures to take to curtail the further spread of monkeypox.”
Nigerians are advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives or managing soiled beddings.
Recently, the WHO attributed its spread to the flooding in various parts of the country contributed to the quick spread of monkeypox across the affected states.
In a statement made by the Delta State Coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO), he said, “Perennial flooding in Nigeria: Communicable diseases and looming antimicrobial resistance. Flooding is known to facilitate infectious disease transmission. It is no longer in doubt. Therefore, that will expose affected communities to outbreak of epidemics, zootomic and other epizootic effects such as cholera and of course we have had reported cases of cholera this year. Until proved otherwise, I think that flooding has a role in the sudden outbreak of monkeypox. This has been here before and it was never a problem but these things are now becoming dislodged from their normal habitat and moving towards us (humans). So, when flooding happens, this is what you see. For floods that last for seven days, expect waterborne diseases. Those lasting for one to four weeks, expect rodent-borne diseases. And the floods exceeding four weeks, you will have a combination of all.”