The United Nations Childrens Fund, UNICEF, has said with Tuesday’s confirmation of two cases of monkey pox in Benue State, the number of cases in Nigeria now stands at 94.
Of the number, UNICEF said only nine remained confirmed cases and urged better caution and less panic among citizens.
UNICEF Health Specialist, Dr. Eghe Abe, made the disclosure at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during an Advocacy meeting with media executives in Unicef Enugu field office.
Analysing the epidemiology of monkey pox viral disease, Abe also described as untrue the rumour that some military personals were vaccinating children with monkey pox vaccine, which has caused some panic around some South-East and South-South states.
Abe said suspected cases of monkey pox were taken to Senegal for confirmation because of the absence of confirmation centre in Nigeria, pointing out that monkey pox has the same resemblance with small pox but noted that monkey pox is not as deadly as the small pox that has been eliminated across the globe.
According to Abe, the mood of the spread includes direct blood contact with infected animal, eating ineffectively cooked meat of an infected animal, contact with infected person through cough or body fluid and using infected person clothes or other belongings, He advocated proper hand-washing and personal hygiene.
He maintained that many states in the country have created a centre where suspected persons are isolated and stressed the need for the people to report suspected cases to the relevant agencies.
He also urged the people not to discriminate against people who were infected and treated as it may lead to suicide as witnessed in Bayelsa State where an infected person committed suicide.
UNICEF communication specialist in Enugu Field Office, Mrs. Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe, said the objective of the meeting was to increase reportage of preventive messages and up-to-date and concise information on the monkey pox.
She encouraged journalists and media executives to create jingles and develop feature stories that would enlighten the people on dangers, symptoms and prevention of the monkey pox disease.
A Child Right Advocate, Dr. Fustinus Nwachukwu, insisted that journalists must hold government accountable, believing that some day, they will meet up with the expectation of the people.
He called on journalists to protect the right of the children in reporting their stories, adding that children who have gone through abuses must be protected to avoid societal discrimination.
By: Vincent Ujumadu & Dennis Agbo (Enugu)