West African countries would be expected to be on alert over recent rising cases of Monkeypox.
Monkeypox, as defined by World Health Organisation, is a rare disease that is commonly prevalent in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
The viral disease is contracted when in contact with the bodily fluid of an infected person or animal. Children and younger age-groups are susceptible to the disease.
Bayelsa State, in the South-south region of Nigeria, has reported that 10 persons at the moment have been detected to have the deadly virus. The report went on to say that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is on the trail of 49 others who are suspected to have contracted the disease.
According to WHO,
“The monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.”
Be that as it may, Monkeypox remains a threat to both individual and communal health.
Bayelsa government states that the 10 infected persons have been quarantined in an isolation center at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu said this:
“Recently in Bayelsa State, we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkeypox. It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organisation’s 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.”
The isolation center was reportedly courtesy of the NCDC and the epidemiological team of the state’s Ministry of Health.
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Amidst all the efforts the government has registered the challenge of possibly infected persons running away from treatment. They encouraged such people to consider the overall health benefit of being attended to. They also advised all to be alert and observant.
“They should be very vigilant. People should report any similar cases to the relevant authorities.”
“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 them so that we can interrupt the spread of the disease.”
History Of Monkeypox
The viral disease was named monkeypox because it was first detected in a monkey. Research shows that it can also be found in humans and all bush animals such as rats, squirrels, and antelopes.
Preben von Magnus in Copenhagen, Denmark first discovered the disease in monkeys in 1958. By 1970, it was found in a 9-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From then till the year 1986, over 400 cases in humans had been reported.
DRC experienced a major outbreak from 1996-97.
In 2003, an infected Gambian rat caused an outbreak of the disease in the United States. 2005 saw several outbreaks in Sudan and other parts of Africa. WHO recorded another epidermic between August and October 2016, in the Central African Republic with 26 cases and two deaths.
Wikipedia says small viral outbreaks with a death rate in the range of 10% and a secondary human to human infection rate of about the same amount occur routinely in equatorial Central and West Africa.
Monkeypox can only be diagnosed through several laboratory tests.
The incubation period of monkeypox ranges from 5 to 21 days. It comes with symptoms such as fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy).
Monkeypox comes with significantly big rashes that cover the entire the body.
The commonest means of contracting monkeypox is through contacts with the bodily fluid of an infected person or animal.
Other related ways include the handling of infected monkeys, squirrels and rodents like Gambian giant rats; eating the inadequately cooked meat of infected animals.
WHO says there are no available specific treatments or vaccines for monkeypox infection at the moment.
The good news, however, is that they can be controlled. As the Nigerian Health Commissioner stated,
“The disease has an incubation period and it is also self-limiting in the sense that within two to four weeks, you get healed and it confers you with immunity for life.”
Smallpox vaccines are effective in preventing monkeypox. But the challenge now is that the vaccine got out of stock with the global eradication of smallpox. Other preventive measures include:
- Sensitizing the general public
- Reporting to a medical facility when signs and symptoms set in.
- Observe hand and overall hygiene.
- Know what you eat. Inspect your meat before purchase and cook properly before consumption.