By Nkeremwen Cosmas
The Monkeypox epidemic that hit Bayelsa state last week and entered Akwa Ibom state on Sunday has reportedly spread to five other states in Nigeria according to the National Centre for Disease Control, Abuja. The other states are Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Ekiti and Cross Rivers. All together 31 cases have been recorded in these states.
Akwa Ibom State, as at Sunday confirmed two cases according to the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh.
At the weekend, Akwa Ibom’s neighbour, Cross River rose to the occasion with proactive measures.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Inyang Asibong, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Sunday said the state has responded to the spread of the virus in neighbouring Akwa Ibom enroute Bayelsa State by setting up a surveillance team on the border communities and all Local Governments .
She said: “Cross River is not far from other states in the South-South that have witnessed the outbreak, we are working round the clock to prevent the disease in the state.
“Currently, we are carrying out sensitisation and advocacy campaigns in communities through community leaders, town announcers and the media”
Bayelsa where the virus was first noticed in Nigeria last week has 50 cases under watch with 13 others under intensive care at the Niger Delat University Teaching Hospital, NDUTH, where an infected doctor and a 11-year old child have been treated and discharged. The virus was first noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.
The State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebimitula Etebu, who at the weekend disclosed this said the government has set up a team to work with World Health experts to combat the spread. He appealed to the citizens to be relaxed but watchful.
Meanwhile, health officials of the two states have called on their people to observe simple but effective hygiene rules to prevent infection and spread. According to Ogoina and Dr Asibong, the rules should be followed to the letter. According to Dr Asibong, the first five days known as `invasion period’, is characterised by fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph back pain and others.
1. Human contact with the virus from animals or materials that are contaminated with the virus.
2. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, through respiratory tract or the mucus membrane in the eyes, in the nose and in the mouth.
3. Direct contact with body fluids or lesions or patients that had already come down with the disease.
4. Contact with beddings and body fluids or lesions or materials
6. Simple hygiene of washing your hands when you touch animals whether dead or alive and have contact with toilet.
7. Report cases immediately or advise the infected person to go to the nearest health facility.