Outbreak of ‘Monkeypox’ in Bayelsa, 11 people quarantined

Chidi Samuel || A strange viral disease identified as ‘monkeypox’ has been reported in Bayelsa state, South-South Nigeria.

Already eleven people identified as careers of the virus have been quarantined in a state hospital pending investigation.

The Bayelsa state commissioner of health, Ebitimitula Etebu, while confirming the outbreak in Yenegoa on Wednesday said that the World Health Organisation, WHO has been informed and samples from patients sent to their laboratory in Senegal for analysis.

The commissioner, however, noted that until the samples are confirmed, one cannot certainly conclude that there is an outbreak in the state,

Etebu said, “Recently in Bayelsa, we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkeypox. It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organisation reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal.”

“When that comes out we will be sure that it is confirmed. But from all indications, it points towards it.

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”As the name implies, the virus was first seen in monkey but can also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels, and antelopes.

”The source is usually all animals. It was first seen in monkeys and that is why it is called monkeypox. But every bush animals such as rats, squirrels, antelopes are involved. So, the secretions from particularly dead animals are highly contagious.

“We noticed the first index case from Agbura where somebody was purported to have killed and eaten a monkey and after that, the people who are neighbours and families started developing the rashes.

“We have seen cases from as far as Biseni. We invited the NCDC together with our own epidemiological team from the Bayelsa Ministry of Health. We have been able to trace most of the people who have come in contact with the patients.

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“So far, we have 11 patients and we have created an isolation centre at the NDUTH and most of them are on admission and we are following up the 49 cases that we are suspecting might come down with the illness. As a state, we are taking care of all the expenses of all the isolated cases.

“The disease has an incubation period and it is also self-limiting in the sense that within two to four weeks, you get healed and it confers you with immunity for life.”