The National Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, has said that 31 cases of the monkeypox virus have been recorded in seven states.
The affected states include Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River States.
Monkeypox is a rare a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rain forests. Its symptoms are very similar to that of smallpox.
The NCDC National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement on Monday said the agency was awaiting the laboratory results and confirmation of the 31 suspected cases.
Ihekweazu said, “Samples have been collected from each suspected case for laboratory confirmation. Results are still awaited. So far, there have been no deaths recorded.
“It is unlikely that many of the suspected cases are actually monkeypox but all are being investigated. Nigerians are once advised to remain calm, avoid self-medication and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility.Public health authorities across the country have been well informed on what to do when a suspected case arises.”
The NCDC boss said the Federal Government has activated emergency operation centres in affected states to coordinate investigation and response in affected states.
Meanwhile in Lagos, there appears to be rising panic even though the state government has assured residents that the two cases are only suspected and are awaiting confirmation. The position of the state was made known by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Idris Jide.
He said about the two suspected cases;
“… they were being quarantined in their various houses pending the result of the investigation.
“There is need to sensitise members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the state government policy,”
There is also need for members of the public to observe and maintain high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread.
The public has to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the nearest public health facility or the Directorate of Disease Control in the State Ministry of Health.
“Also, health workers are advised to practice universal safety precautions in the management of suspected or confirmed cases.
“They should wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when attending to cases, wash hands after each contact with patient or contaminated materials while surveillance system must be strengthened.
“The state government has mobilised the Disease Surveillance Officers in all the 57 local government areas and LCDAs in the state, while health workers in both public and private health facilities have been placed on high alert.
“In case of any suspected case of Monkey Pox, the Lagos State Ministry of Health should be notified through the following mobile lines: 08037170614, 09087106072