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What You Need To Know About Monkeypox Virus

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The recent outbreak of monkeypox virus has raised concerns in affected countries across the globe. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed about 21 cases of monkeypox since May, 2022.

What is Monkeypox? 

Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease appeared in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Hence the name ‘monkeypox’ emerged. The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox.

Monkeypox In Nigeria

From 1970 to 2017, Nigeria recorded a total of 3 cases of human monkeypox. One case in 1970 and two cases in 1978. In September 2017, Nigeria experienced its largest outbreak of human monkeypox in Nigeria with about 228 suspected cases, (60 confirmed cases) reported in 24 out of the 36 states of the country. Most of the cases were reported in Bayelsa State and handled at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Bayelsa.

READ: Daily COVID Tracker: NCDC Logs 428 New Infections, Eight Deaths

As at May 29, 2022,  a total of 21 confirmed cases with one death were reported from nine states including the FCT. The states according to NCDC, are: Adamawa (5), Lagos (4), Bayelsa (2), Delta (2), Cross River (2), FCT (2), Kano (2), Imo (1), Rivers (1).  

Prior to that, the director-general, NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa on May 27, announced that NCDC has initiated a national multisectoral Emergency Operations Center for Monkeypox (MPX-EOC) at level 2 to strengthen and coordinate current response activities in the country while contributing to the global response.  

Symptoms of Monkeypox

A monkeypox rash can appear like pimples or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

The rash goes through varied stages before healing thoroughly. It can take several weeks. People sometimes get a rash first before other symptoms while others only suffer a rash.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Lymph nodes
  • Muscle and backache
  • Exhaustion

If you notice or experience any of the symptoms aforementioned, here is what to do;

  • It is essential to visit a healthcare facility immediately 
  • Avoid physical contact with other people and animals until a healthcare provider examines and tests you.
  • If the test comes out positive,  isolate yourself until the rash has healed (all scabs have peeled off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed)

Is Monkeypox contagious?

The virus can spread in several ways from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. 

It can also be contacted through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact including kissing, cuddling, or sex. Pregnant women can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

READ: Lassa Fever Hits Bauchi Health Workers, Two Other States – NCDC

Sharing items such as clothing with infected persons can also spread the virus. People can also get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

The virus can spread from the time symptoms appear until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. 

What are the available treatments for Monkeypox?

According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, there are no medications precisely for monkeypox virus infections. Though monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically identical, this implies that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat and prevent monkeypox virus infections.

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