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LASG raises alarm over possible outbreak of monkeypox

Says no cause for the alarm

3 cases reported in one month

Govt calls for precautionary measures

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government, Friday, stressed the need by residents to take precautionary measures in order to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases such as Monkeypox which was recently reported in the state.

Monkey pox, Lagos

It, therefore, reiterated the need for citizens to ensure and maintain adequate personal and environmental hygiene at all times.

Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, stated this during the biosecurity update meeting on the situation report of Monkey Pox disease in the state.

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Abayomi urged residents to observe the highest possible standards of personal and environmental hygiene especially through regular washing of hands with soap and running water and attention to environmental exposure.

Giving details about the recent report of the disease in the state, the Commissioner disclosed that three suspected cases of monkeypox were reported by health facilities in the past one month, noting that the cases were positive for Monkey Pox as revealed by reports of laboratory investigation.

“The patients were treated at the specialised infectious disease isolation centre of Mainland Hospital, Yaba has since recovered and have been discharged. The close contacts and family members of these cases were actively monitored for 21 days for any development of signs and symptoms of monkeypox and none of these contacts develops any symptoms”, Abayomi said.

The commissioner while calling for calm assured residents that there is no cause to panic stressing the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health through the Centre for Disease Control is maintaining relevant surveillance activities in all local government areas to prevent an outbreak of the disease.

He explained that the state Epidemiology and the Monkeypox focal persons from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had earlier carried out sensitization for clinicians and community members in some local government areas of the state three months ago to increase awareness and reporting of any suspected case.

He, therefore, advised health workers to ensure that they take universal safety precautions when dealing with patients stressing that appropriate personal protective clothing must be worn when attending to cases of contagious infectious diseases.

“Health workers are advised to observe universal safety precautions when dealing with patients and report any suspected case of monkeypox to the Medical Officer of Health in their local government or the Directorate of Disease Control through these lines: 08023169485 and 08023377487”, Abayomi said

The commissioner explained Monkeypox is a rare viral infection of animals which can be transmissible to man and caused by Monkeypox virus noting that the symptoms in human are similar to those seen in chickenpox patients although less severe.

“It occurs primarily in Central and West Africa close to the tropical rain forest where there is frequent contact with infected animals,” he added.

Abayomi explained that Monkeypox could be transmitted by direct contact of persons with the blood, bodily fluid, cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals; handling of infected monkeys and rodents such as West African giant rats and Squirrels which are the major reservoirs of the virus.

The commissioner also noted that the disease could also be spread through human to human transmission through close contacts with infected respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or object recently contaminated by patient’s fluid or lesion materials; eating undercooked meat of infected animal and transmission to the unborn baby through the placenta.

Abayomi said Monkeypox can be suspected in any person presenting with a pustular rash and one or more symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, headache, backache swollen glands sore throat, cough and shortness of breath.

“In the early phase of the disease, patients usually present with fever, swelling of lymph nodes, back pain, intense headache, muscle pain and lack of energy while in the late phase, skin rashes or lesion with a flat base develops between three days after the onset of fever which later forms small fluid-filled blisters. This fluid later becomes pus and then crust in about 10 days”, he explained.

Commissioner stated that there is no specific treatment for monkeypox but that patient recovers after the symptoms subside between two to three weeks stressing that the disease may leave residual scars on affected parts of the body.

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