By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
Akwa Ibom state government has raised the alarm over a total of 18 suspected cases of Monkeypox in three communities of Mkpat Enin local government area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong who announced this during a briefing on Friday in Uyo, said only one case has however been clinically confirmed in the state.
Ukpong noted that results of five of the cases were still being awaited while all the suspected cases reside in three communities of Ikot Akpaden, Ikot Enin and Ndon, all in Mkpat Enin local government area.
According to him, the Health Ministry through the Public Health Department had activated its infectious control procedure to control the epidemic and has so far successfully confined it to the affected local government even as he said the state was still at risk of recording new cases given the presence of the disease in neighbouring states.
He said, “In Nigeria, as at October 24th, 93 suspected cases have been reported; 43 cases were confirmed, only one death was reported, and that was in Lagos State.
“Although ten states were affected, Lagos, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Enugu and Anambra states with a total number of 93 cases in the country. 59% were from two states: Delta, (28%), and Lagos (26%).
“Since the beginning of the outbreak in 2017, 176 confirmed cases were reported and nine deaths before this year’s outbreak. Case fatality in the outbreak has been between one per cent and ten per cent, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups
“Monkey pox is a rare viral zoonotic infection, that is, an infection transmitted from animals to humans; that occurs sporadically, primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical forests. It is caused by monkey pox viruses which also cause small pox and cowpox.
Dr Ukpong advised the people to prevent contracting the disease by avoiding contact with animals that could harbour the virus including sick or dead animals in areas where monkeypox cases have occurred.
He further advised the people to avoid contact with any material that had been in contact with a sick animal and to isolate the potentially-infected animal from other animals.
He identified other measures to prevent contracting the epidemic to include quarantining any animal that might have come into contact with an infected animal by handling them with standard precautions and observing for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.
Other measures include handwashing with soap and water after contact with infected animals; thoroughly cooking of all animal products before eating, and regular hand washing after caring for or visiting sick people.