Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has urged Nigerians to remain calm as it is working aggressively to control Monkeypox outbreak in Bayelsa State.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the centre was taking steps to manage the cases and prevent further spread of the disease.
According to him, a Rapid Response Team (RRT) from NCDC has been deployed to support the Bayelsa State Government in the investigations and public health response.
He said that 13 cases were reported, most of them have been discharged but four are still receiving treatment but all of them are doing well and no death reported.
Ihekweazu said that if cases are detected early and well managed the chances are that they will survive.
“It is a self limiting illness which means that there is no specific treatment for the virus,” he said.
He noted that doctors and healthcare providers have been advised on what to do.
“The key thing is to bring in patients with characteristic rash on their face which is what stands Monkeypox out from other diseases.
“Monkeypox looks like an extreme case of chickenpox but a little bit more severe and the disease looks and sounds a lot worse than it actually is.
“The virus circulates in a few more animals apart from monkeys like rats, squirrels and bush meat and the period of increased risk is at the point of killing, touching or preparing them.
“The people at risk are those who kill, touch or cook the animals that is those who come in contact with the animals and don’t use protective measure or wash their hands after wards.
“Once the virus gets into the human population then there is a risk of human to human transmission which is what has happened in Bayelsa but the first contact is from animal to human,” he said.
Ihekweazu explained that Monkeypox infection is a relatively rare disease that has previously been reported in Nigeria in the 1970s.
He said that it is primarily a zoonotic infection that is transmitted primarily from animals to humans, with limited subsequent person-to-person transmission.
He further explained that there is no serious aftermath of the disease except staying with the scare of the rash for quite a while.
Ihekweazu therefore assured Nigerians that the NCDC was in control of the situation and was working aggressively to combat its further spread.