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Bayelsa encourages hygiene as Monkey pox spreads

Monkey pox virus that broke out in Bayelsa State has continued to spread in the state so far over ten persons has been reportedly quarantined in separate wards.

The state commissioner for Health, Dr Ebitimitula Etebu Thursday sensitized the general public to observe hand hygiene and ensure they don’t come in contact with dead animals and their secretions adding that the disease was
airborne and very infectious.

Speaking in Yenagoa at  a programme to keep the public abreast of the virus, the commissioner said “We have mobilised virtually every arsenal
at our disposal in terms of sensitizing the general public and making them
aware by radio programmes, jingles and fliers making them to know about the
virus”.

The health commissioner listed the symptoms of monkey pox as severe
headache, fever, back pains amongst other symptoms adding that most
worrisome of all the signs were rashes bigger than those caused by chicken
pox.

He said the rashes are usually frightening and usually spread to the whole
body of an infected persons.

He described monkey pox as a viral illness caused by a group of viruses
that include chicken pox and small pox, adding that the first case was
noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently it had
outbreaks in West African region.

The virus he explained that the virus has the Central African and the West
African types, the commissioner said the West African type is milder and
has no records of mortality.
Maintaining that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has mobilised
fully to the state, the commissioner narrating how the virus came into the
state said “We noticed the first index case from Agbura where somebody was
purported to have killed and eaten a monkey and after that the people who
are neighbours and families started developing these rashes.
He said the symptoms were seen as far as Biseni adding that they had
invited the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control together with the
ministry’s epidemiological team adding that they had been able to trace
most of the people who have come in contact with the patients.
” So far we have ten patients and we have created an isolation centre at
the NDUTH and most of them are on admission and we are following up the
forty nine cases that we are suspecting might come down with the illness.
As a state we are taking car of all the expenses of all the isolated cases”.
However he disclosed that
a medical doctor and ten persons, who came down with the monkey pox had
been quarantined in an isolation centre created at the Niger Delta
University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri, Yenagoa.
The isolation centre he said was created by the Nigerian Centre for
Disease Control (NCDC) and the epidemiological team of the state’s Ministry
of Health to stop the spread of the virus.
Already the NCDC and the epidemiological team were tracking other forty
nine persons who were said to have come in contact with the infected
persons.
The state Commissioner stated that samples of the virus had been sent to
the World Health Organisation Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for confirmation.
“Recently in Bayelsa State we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkey pox.
It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health
Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. When that comes
out we will be sure that it is confirmed. But from all indications, it
points towards it”, he said.
He said as the name implies, the virus was first seen in monkey, but could
also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.
The disease he said has an incubation period adding that it was also
self-limiting in the sense that within two to four weeks, the person get
healed and it confers the person with the immunity for life.
“We have mobilised virtually every arsenal at our disposal in terms of
sensitizing the general public and making them aware by radio programmes,
jingles and fliers. So the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has
mobilised fully to Bayelsa state. We are on top the situation.
“A lot of people have come down with the symptoms but they are hiding in
their houses. If they hide, there is the propensity for the infection to
spread.
“It is better to quarantine them and treat so that we can interrupt the
spread of the disease. People should be calm and they shouldn’t get
frightened. The state has distributed personal protective equipment to
workers and they are using it”

About Joy Emmanuel, Yenagoa