The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge has advised residents in the State not to panic following the recent reported outbreak of monkey pox disease in some states including neighbouring Bayelsa State as the Delta State Government has made adequate arrangements to prevent and curtail the outbreak of the disease in the State.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge gave this assurance in his office during a press briefing on the situation report in Delta State on the outbreak of monkey pox.
He noted that monkey pox is a rare, self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days, which occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
Although there is no vaccine available, monkey pox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although less severe, he added.
The Commissioner revealed that infection results from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals such as monkeys, rats and squirrels whereas secondary, or human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials.
Fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy); rashes beginning on the face and then spreading elsewhere on the body such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, are the signs and symptoms of the disease, the Commissioner further highlighted.
Dr. Azinge stated that a constant border patrol of the three Local Government Areas of Patani, Bomadi and Burutu- which have common borders with Bayelsa State, will be maintained in order to prevent and curtail the outbreak of the disease in Delta State.
He added that the deployment of disease outbreak prevention and case management materials to Patani, Bomadi and Burutu Local Government Areas has been achieved to forestall possible importation of the disease from the neighbouring Bayelsa State to Delta State through the bordering Local Government Areas.
According to him, the State Rapid Response Team have also been placed on red alert to respond to emergencies wherever they may occur in the State while arrangements have been concluded with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the rapid transfer of samples collected from suspected cases to World Health Organization (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for confirmation.
The Commissioner noted that the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) has sensitized the Disease Surveillance Officers in the 25 LGAs in Delta State last week while the sensitization of other health workers, and radio and television jingles to inform the general public is being planned.
Dr. Azinge called on residents to reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission by avoiding physical contact with monkey pox infected people; reduce risk of animal-to-human transmission by thoroughly cooking all animal products, especially blood and meat before eating.
Other preventive measures as highlighted by the Commissioner includes regular hand washing carried out after caring for or visiting the sick people; gloves, protective equipment and clothing should be worn when taking care of ill people, handling sick animals or their affected tissues, and during slaughtering procedures.