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Fears and Trouble in Bayelsa after Monkey Pox invade communities

Following the outbreak of disease known revealed as Monkey pox in the state of Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, 10 persons are already infected and state authorities have reportedly tracked down 49 persons supposedly to have contacted the disease after having contact with the affected persons.

The infected persons have been restricted from the public after Niger Delta University Hospital, NDUTH created an isolation centre in Okolobiri, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the State. The centre was  created by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC to contain the outbreak.

The State  Commissioner for Health, Professor Ebitimitula Etebu reacts to the development.

He said;  “recently in Bayelsa State, we noticed a suspected outbreak of Monkey Pox.

“It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organisation, WHO, reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. When that comes out we will be sure that it is confirmed.” 

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

”He listed the dicease’s symptoms to include severe headache, fever, back pains among others.According to him, “most worrisome of all the signs are rashes bigger than those caused by chicken pox, which is usually frightening and usually spread to the whole body of infected persons. 

“We noticed the index case from Agbura, where somebody was purported to have killed and eaten a monkey and after neighbours and family members started developing these rashes.“We have seen cases from as far as Biseni. We invited the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control 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.

“I think so far we have 10 patients and we have created an isolation centre at the NDUTH and most of them are on admission; we are following up on 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.“We have mobilised virtually every arsenal at our disposal in terms of sensitising the public and making them aware by radio programmes, jingles and fliers. So the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has mobilised fully to Bayelsa State. We are on top the situation.

“The only thing I will tell the public is to observe hand hygiene and ensure they don’t come in contact with dead animals or their secretions. The disease is airborne too. So when you come down with it is very infectious.“People should wash their hands whenever they go in or come out of their houses. If they come in touch with animals, they should ensure that they wash their hands.

“A lot of people have come down with the symptoms, but they are hiding in their houses. If they hide, there is the propensity for the infection to spread. It is better to quarantine them and treat so that we can interrupt the spread of the disease.

“People should be calm and they shouldn’t get frightened. The state has distributed personal protective equipment to workers and they are using it accordingly.”

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