Monkeypox: 10 Things You Should Know About The Latest Virus To Hit Nigeria
In 2014, the deadly Ebola virus crept its way into Nigeria and claimed several lives.
Every now and then, there is also an outbreak of the equally deadly Lassa fever and Bird flu which equally claim lives.
Now, monkeypox is in town, this time, in Bayelsa state where 10 people including a medical doctor have been placed under quarantine with the disease.
Described as a viral disease caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and small pox, the first case of monkeypox was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently had outbreaks in West Africa.
It was first discovered in monkeys hence the name.
Speaking on the outbreak, the Bayelsa state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu said the virus has the Central African and the West African types, adding that the West African type is milder and has no records of mortality.
But that's not all there is to the viral disease, here are 10 things you should know about monkeypox.
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1. Monkeypox is relatively new; the first human cases were diagnosed and differentiated from small pox in the 1970s.
2. Most cases of monkeypox are transmitted from animals (rodents) to human beings, and a limited secondary spread by direct contact, person-to-person contact via droplets of the puss, close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials. This makes persons caring for patients with the disease or people in the same householde, susceptible to catching it.
3. 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.
4. The invasion period (0-5 days); like chickenpox, is marked by symptoms that are not specific and they include severe headache, fever, back-pain, muscle pain and intense lack of energy.
5. After the invasion period comes the skin eruption period which happens 1 - 3 days after the fever, and is marked by the appearance of rashes usually starting from the face before spreading to other parts of the body. The face, palm and soles of the feet are the most affected parts of the body. The genitals, eyelid, eyeball and mucous membrane can also be affected.
6. Evolution of the rashes from the time it appears to when it forms blisters and becomes dry takes about 10 days, while it takes about 3 weeks for the dry blisters to clear.
7. Monkeypox has a low mortality rate of less than 10% in documented events, and this is mostly among young children. In general, younger age-groups appear to be more susceptible to monkeypox.
8. Monkeypox can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory where the virus can be identified by a number of different tests.
9. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled. However, vaccination against smallpox had proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox in the past but the vaccine is no longer available to the general public after smallpox was eradicated in the globe.
10. To avoid getting infected, close contact with patients should be avoided and gloves/protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill people. Regular hand washing should also be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people. Most importantly, animal products should be thoroughly cooked before eating. Also, animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, and observed for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.