MONKEYPOX - WETIN BE THIS O?
Not a common word in Nigeria. Recently there have been reports of an outbreak of this disease MonkeyPox in Bayelsa.
WHAT IS MONKEYPOX
Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests. 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.
HOW DOES ONE DET THE INFECTION
The monkeypox virus is transmitted to people from animals but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission. It is dangerous in that 1 -10% of people who get the disease will die, especially young people. There is no treatment or vaccination so prevention is vital.
HOW TO IDENTIFY MONKEYPOX
The infection is characterised by fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph node, back pain, muscle ache and an intense lack of energy. 1 - 3 days after the fever, the individual commonly develops a rash on the face and the hands and feet. The rash may also occur on the face and body (see pictures)
1 -10% of people die. However, though there is no treatment, the disease disappears in those who survive within 3 weeks. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status and severity of complications.
REDUCING THE RISK OF ANIMAL-TO-HUMAN and HUMAN-TO-HUMAN TRANSMISSION
During human monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with other patients is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. In the absence of specific treatment or vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus. Surveillance measures and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment.
Public health educational messages should focus on the following risks:
● Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission.
● Close physical contact with monkeypox infected people should be avoided.
● Gloves and protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill people.
● Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people.
● Efforts to prevent transmission in endemic regions should focus on thoroughly cooking all animal products (blood, meat) before eating.
● Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn while handling sick animals or their infected tissues, and during slaughtering procedures.
CONTROLLING INFECTION IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS
● Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions.
● Healthcare workers and those treating or exposed to patients with monkeypox or their samples should consider being immunized against smallpox via their national health authorities.
Thanks to the NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health and its rapid response to educate the public and contain the disease. The establishment of the Nigeria CDC is a welcome development.
To those who say the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been noted to be crying wolf often and should stop, disease surveillance, data collection and rapid effective response will help protect Nigerians. This is a good example of its function. (Acknowledgement - WHO)