By Ajuma Edwina Ogiri
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said the monkey pox virus may have spread to 11 states with 74 suspected cases recorded.
Th e minister disclosed this yesterday in Abuja when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Adewole had disclosed earlier that only three cases, out of the 33 samples of the suspected cases sent for test at a WHO laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, from Bayelsa states tested positive.
Updating the Council on developments in respect of the outbreak, the minister listed the affected states as Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Rivers and FCT.
He said: “The Council also received an update on the state of the public health of the nation.
We informed the council about the latest development in respect of the monkey pox virus outbreak.
So far, as of today, there are 74 suspected cases in 11 states of the country.
“We have confirmed three from Bayelsa and 12 of the suspected cases from Bayelsa tested negative; four suspected cases from Lagos tested negative.
We are still expecting the results of the other ones.
“We are also doing test at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Edeh, to really understand the genomics of this virus.
“Even when they are negative, the laboratory attendant should be able to tell us what exactly they are.
” The minister further dismissed the rumour that the military was spreading monkey pox virus through vaccination.
He said the military was never involved in any vaccination in the country, adding that any vaccination must involve state governments and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“It is also important to dispel the rumour circulating in the country that the military is vaccinating people and trying to spread monkey pox across the country.
The military is not involved in any vaccination exercise.
“And I must educate Nigerians about how vaccination campaigns are done.
Th e federal government will take the lead but we do not conduct campaign without working with states.
“So, there is no way we will do campaign without working with the states.
” The minister further announced that his ministry was conducting vaccination in only three states of the federation, namely Borno, Kwara and Kogi.
He stated that the cholera vaccination was being conducted in Borno while that of Yellow Fever was being carried out in Kwara and Kogi.
Adewole also said the ministry would soon start vaccination against measles while a nationwide vaccination against Yellow Fever would commence before the end of the year