The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has urged Nigerians to remain calm as it is working aggressively to control the monkeypox outbreak in Bayelsa state.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, the chief executive officer of NCDC, told NAN on Saturday that the centre was taking steps to manage the cases and prevent further spread of the disease.
According to Ihekweazu, a rapid response team from the NCDC has been deployed to support the Bayelsa state government in the investigations and public health response.
He said 13 cases were reported, but most of them have been discharged except four who are still receiving treatment. He said all of them are doing well and no death reported.
Ihekweazu said 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.
“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.
He said apart from monkeys, “the virus circulates in 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.”
Ihekweazu explained that monkeypox infection is a relatively rare disease that was previously reported in Nigeria in the 1970s.
He said 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.
He therefore assured Nigerians that the NCDC was in control of the situation and was working aggressively to combat its further spread.