Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Monkey Pox: Lagos State Urges All to Sanitise their Environment

Rebecca Ejifoma

The Lagos State Government is reiterating the need for the public to observe and maintain a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Monkey pox to the State.

An outbreak of Monkey pox has been reported in some States in the country. The first case was reported on September 22 this year and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) clinically confirmed it as a case of Monkey pox.

 Following this, 31 suspected cases have been identified, including two in Lagos.      “These two suspected cases are currently being investigated in the State,” Commissioner for Health Lagos, Dr. Hide Idris had said.

Though no confirmed case has been recorded, he told newsmen in a media briefing on October 9, that there was the need to sensitise the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the policy of the State Government.

Now, research shows that Monkey pox is a rare viral zoonotic disease (from animal to man) caused by Monkey pox virus which occurs primarily in Central and West Africa close to tropical rain forest where there is frequent contact with infected animals. The symptoms in human is similar to those seen in the past in small pox patients although less severe.

The first human case was identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in 1970 where Monkey pox is believed to be endemic. Outbreaks have been reported in DRC, Sudan with sporadic cases reported from other parts of Africa.

Human is usually infected through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluid, cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals or through handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats, Squirrels, rodents and the common bush-meat (in local parlance) are the major reservoirs of the virus.

Human to human transmission can also occur through close contacts with infected respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or object recently contaminated by patient’s fluid or lesion materials and eating undercooked meat of infected animal is a possible risk factor.

Monkey pox should be suspected in any person with rash, fever, chills, sweats, headache, backache, lymphadenopathy, sore-throat, cough and shortness of breath, hence, the commissioner urged them to take adequate measures in order to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. “Health workers should have high index of suspicion any person with the above symptoms in order to improve case detection.”

He added: “I need to state that though there is no specific vaccine for the disease, vaccination against Small pox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing Monkey pox. There is also no specific anti-viral therapy for Monkey pox, however, the disease is self-limiting and could be managed conservatively.”

Preventive Measures
The preventive measures to be taken against the spread of the disease include; avoiding close contact with infected people; avoiding consumption of bush meat and dead animals; cooking of meat and meat product thoroughly before eating and washing of hands with soap and running water frequently and thoroughly.

In the wake of this outbreak, the Lagos State Government is reiterating the need for the public to observe and maintain a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread to the State.

Idris further advised the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the nearest public health facility or the Directorate of Disease Control in the State Ministry of Health.

Accordingly, he urged health workers to practice universal safety precautions in the management of suspected or confirmed cases, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when attending to cases, wash hands after each contact with patient or contaminated materials while surveillance system must be strengthened.

He disclosed: “The State Government has mobilised the Disease Surveillance Officers in the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in the State and health workers in both public and private health facilities have been placed on high alert.”

Therefore, to win the fight against the epidemic, Idris called “The good people of Lagos State to remain calm and go about their businesses without fear as the State Government has put in place adequate measures to effectively prevent and control the spread of the infection to the State.”

In case of any suspected case of Monkey pox, he advised that the Lagos State Ministry of Health should be notified through these mobile lines: 08037170614, 09087106072 or 08052817243.

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