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Monkey pox: Expert advocates ban on importation of rodents

A veterinary doctor, Mr Mutiu Oladele-Bukola, has advocated ban on the importation of rodents into the country to curtail further outbreak of monkey pox and other zoonotic diseases.

Oladele-Bukola of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, made the call in an interview with the Newsmen in Ibadan on Tuesday.

He said that because of the outbreak of monkey pox people moving in and out of the country should be immunised against the virus.
He emphasised that surveillance measures and rapid identification of new cases were critical for outbreak containment, stressing that people suspected of monkey pox disease should be well quarantined.

Oladele-Bukola also suggested the establishment of functional Critical Disease Control (CDC) centres to contain such outbreak aside aggressive public education on preventive measures against viral diseases.

According to him, monkey pox, a zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) disease, is cause by oval brick-shaped viruses that have lipoprotein layer with filaments that cover the viral DNA.“There are many members of this viral genus, including species such as variola (small pox), rabbitpox, cowpox, buffalopox, etc.

Most species infect a particular animal species but occasionally may infect other animals,” he said.

He advised Nigerians to avoid consumption of bush meat, dead animals particularly bush monkeys, stressing that meat and meat products should be thoroughly cooked before eating.

He further disclosed that the disease could be prevented by avoiding eating or touching animals known to acquire the virus in the wild (mainly African rodents and monkeys).

“Person to person transfer has been documented; patients who have the disease should physically isolate themselves till all the pox lesions are healed.

“People who care for the patients should use gloves, face masks to avoid any direct or droplet contact, caregivers should obtain a small pox vaccination.

“Because small pox and monkey pox are so closely related, studies have suggested that people vaccinated against small pox have about an 85 per cent chance of being protected from monkey pox,” he said.

Oladele-Bukola also advised citizens to avoid contact with materials such as bedding that had been in contact with a sick animal or person and to practice good hand hygiene with/without contact with infected animals/humans.

He explained that transmission of monkey pox was by direct contact with infected animals or possibly by eating poorly cooked meat from infected rodents or monkey.

“Mucosal lesions on infected animals are likely source of transmission to humans, especially when the human skin is broken due to bites, scratches or other trauma that are likely source for virus infection.

“It can also be through person to person transfer, probably by infected respiratory droplets or skin lesions of infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient materials.

“As well as through physical touch, contact with stool or blood contacts,” he said.


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