Nigerians woke up to a new epidemic gradually spreading across interstate borders. MonkeyPox Virus is considered a very rare disease infection but it seems so very ‘common’ in Bayelsa State, where the primary outbreak was first reported. According to Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control, precisely, on the 22nd of September 2017, they got a report on the outbreak from the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Yenagoa, Bayelsa.

An 11-year old patient had presented at the facility with symptoms and signs consistent with MonkeyPox. It was only later that another 11 suspected cases were also reported by the facility. It now clear that most of the patients are clinically stable and appears to be improving. While this was ongoing, 32 close contacts were identified, counseled and are closely monitored.

It is clear that the disease have a very low fatality rate which corresponds to previous epidemic data and experiences, where deaths from this disease is said to be between 1 – 10% of the affected population. Even though there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, when intensive supportive care is provided most patients recover fully.

Already announced is the full recovery and discharge of the 11year old boy and a doctor who contracted the disease while actively caring for the boy. The Chief Medical Director of the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Dimie Ogoina, announced this in high spirits;

Based on the mandate we have received from the state government, we currently have an isolation center put in to manage the suspected cases of monkeypox. Indeed, the index case that came in about two weeks ago, the hospital has been fully mobilized to receive and care for every suspected case of monkeypox in the state.

“Currently, in the hospital, we have a designated makeshift facility where we receive adult and children that are suspected to have monkeypox. We are fully mobilized and we have provided sufficient awareness among the staff of the hospital.

“Unfortunately one of our doctors contracted the virus at the early stage of the outbreak before it was fully recognized. But I am happy to inform you that the doctor has been cared for, treated and has fully recovered and he is doing well. We have also successfully treated and managed an 11-year-old index case who has recovered and is doing well.”

The Federal Government’s stance and readiness to tackle the index case is highly commendable as it seems ever ready to prevent and stop any ‘new’ epidemic.

However, new cases are being reported in Rivers State, an adjoining neighbour of Bayelsa state. The Commissioner for Health in Rivers State, Prof Princewill Chike, have confirmed 3 new cases. This is the time for government to be more than proactive in stopping the spread. Citizens have been advised to desist from consuming unwholesome bush meats, monkey meats etc, as they may harbour the virus.


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