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MonkeyPox: Is The Nigerian Health Care System Prepared For Yet Another Pandemic?

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has urged Nigerians to remain calm even as 12 cases of suspected Monkey Pox were confirmed in Bayelsa State with 32 close contacts of the cases placed under watch.

Disclosing this in a statement, the National Coordinator/CEO of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said all the cases are currently receiving appropriate medical care and no death had been recorded but called for a high index of suspicion among health workers.

Ihekweazu said, On 22 September 2017, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, was notified of a case of suspected Monkey Pox. The case was identified in an 11-year-old male patient, who was presented to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, NDUTH, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Subsequently, 11 other cases were identified.

No deaths were recorded.

Dr. Sunday Erhunmwunse, in an interview with Lex Community NG, said, “Nigeria can handle an epidemic after Covid 19 pandemic because the Covid 19 pandemic has better prepared our health care systems and professionals to handle such health catastrophe.”

“The monkeypox is not going to have a wide-ranging effect because the majority of Nigerians have been vaccinated against chickenpox. As a result of this, according to medical science, people who have been vaccinated against chickenpox are less likely to be vulnerable to the monkey infection.”

“As long as the relevant health authority, especially the NCDC, do their job in curtailing the spread of the infection, Nigerians don’t have so much to worry about.”

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease indigenous to Central Africa. In humans, the disease is similar to smallpox, though milder.

NCDC stated the symptoms of monkeypox are as follows:

About 12 days after people are infected with the virus, they will get a fever, headache, muscle aches, and backache; their lymph nodes will swell, and they will feel tired. One to 3 days (or longer) after the fever starts, they will get a rash. This rash develops into raised bumps filled with fluid and often starts on the face and spreads, but it can start on other parts of the body too. The bumps go through several stages before they get crusty, scab over, and fall off. The illness usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

According to Dr. Erhunmwunse, “the modes of the monkeypox virus include: Contact with an infected animal or if you have contact with the animal’s rash, blood or body fluids. It can also be transmitted from person to person through respiratory or direct contact and contact with contaminated bedding or clothing.”

“Only one out of 10 persons who contract the diseases dies. This mortality rate shows that there is a very low chance of people dying from the diseases.”

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday 16th of July 2021, that monkeypox was detected in Texas, making it the first case of the virus seen in the state.

The viral illness was found in a U.S. resident, who recently traveled from Nigeria to the United States and is currently hospitalized in Dallas.

Chiamaka Judith Alum
Author: Chiamaka Judith Alum

Good Governance and Human Right Advocate, Content Editor and Data Analyst

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