12 Key facts about Monkeypox in Nigeria
- “NINE CASE OF MONKEYPOX HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED IN NIGERIA” – NCDC
- Newly confirmed cases are patients already being managed by public health authorities and have been receiving appropriate clinical care since onset of the illness.
- So far, there have been no deaths recorded from cases of monkeypox in Nigeria.
- Notification of a suspected monkeypox outbreak was recorded on the 22nd of September, 2017 in Bayelsa State.
- As at the 25th of October 2017, a total of 94 suspected cases have been reported from 11 States (Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
- This is the third time, monkeypox outbreak will be recorded in the nation’s history. There were a total of 3 recorded human cases previously in 1971 and 1978 according to the Centres for Disease Control, CDC.
- Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- Monkeypox is usually self-limiting, which means patients tend to recover with time,with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days.
- Transmission of monkeypox is via contact with infected animal, human, or contaminated materials.
- The monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.
- There is no treatment or vaccine available although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well.
- Practice good hand hygiene with or without contact with infected animals or humans. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
What Causes Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus, that belongs to the same family of viruses that includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus. The natural reservoir remains unknown.
The Monkeypox virus can cause an illness with a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling. In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10 per cent of infected cases. There is no specific medicine to treat the disease, but intensive supportive care helps patients to recover fully.
How can Monkeypox be transmitted
Transmission is via contact with infected animal, human, or contaminated materials.
- Animal-to-human transmission occurs through bite or scratch from animals and bush meat preparation. It can also be transmitted from one person to another.
- Human-to-human transmission occurs through respiratory droplets, contact with infected persons or contaminated materials.
How to prevent Monkeypox Infection
There are number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox virus:
- Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
- Always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives humans or soiled beddings.
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
- Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
- Thoroughly cooking all animal products (blood, meat) before eating.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
- Preventing monkeypox expansion through restrictions on animal trade
- Restricting or banning the movement of small African mammals and monkeys may be effective in slowing the expansion of the virus outside Africa.
- Captive animals should not be inoculated against smallpox. Instead, potentially infected animals should be isolated from other animals and placed into immediate quarantine. Any animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, handled with standard precautions and observed for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.
- Health care workers are strongly advised to practice universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times.
- They are also urged to be alert, be familiar with the symptoms and maintain a high index of suspicion. All suspected cases should be reported to the Local Government Area or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.
As long as universal infection prevention and control practices are strictly adhered to by all clinical staff, the chances of transmission are minimal.
Further information can be obtained from NCDC toll-free number: 0800–970000–10; SMS: 08099555577 Whatsapp: 07087110839. Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov
Signs and symptoms of Monkeypox
Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (enlargement of glands), sore throat, the characteristic generalized vesicular rash. The rashes might last between two to four weeks.
The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 16 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
The infection can be divided into two periods:
- the invasion period (0-5 days) characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy);
- the skin eruption period (within 1-3 days after appearance of fever) where the various stages of the rash appears, often beginning on the face and then spreading elsewhere on the body. The face (in 95% of cases), and palms of the hands and soles of the feet (75%) are most affected. Evolution of the rash from maculopapules (lesions with a flat bases) to vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters), pustules, followed by crusts occurs in approximately 10 days. Three weeks might be necessary before the complete disappearance of the crusts.
Monkeypox is usually self-limiting, which means patients tend to recover with time,with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days. However, supportive care and management of condition is required and mostly successful.
Treatment and vaccine
There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled. Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox in the past but the vaccine is no longer available to the general public after it was discontinued following global smallpox eradication. Nevertheless, prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course.
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