Nigeria’s Minister of Health Isaac Adewole has allayed fears of an outbreak of monkey pox.
According to the minister, there are no confirmed cases of the disease in the country yet.
His statement comes a day after the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there were 31 suspected cases in seven states.
According to Chikwe Ihekweazu, the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of NCDC the affected states are Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross Rivers.
In his own statement, Adewole said cases could only be confirmed by Laboratory tests.
He blamed states for slow response to outbreaks of diseases, adding that the health authorities at that level of government do not report cases on time.
Adewole also urged Nigerians not to panic, saying the monkeypox in West Africa is not deadly.
According to him, there are two types of the disease; Central African and West African.
Monkeypox infection is a relatively rare disease that has previously been reported in Nigeria in the 1970s. It is primarily a zoonotic infection i.e. transmitted primarily from animals to humans, with limited subsequent person-to-person transmission.
The most common animal hosts are squirrels, rats and sometimes, monkeys.
The Monkeypox virus can cause an illness with the following symptoms; a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling. In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10% of infected cases.
Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, when intensive supportive care is provided most patients recover fully.
Measures that can be taken to prevent infection with Monkeypox virus include avoiding contact with the animals listed above, especially animals that are sick or found dead in areas where Monkeypox occurs.
The public is advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives humans or soiled beddings.
Nigerians are advised to remain calm and supportive of public health authorities, avoid self-medication and report to the nearest health facility if feeling unwell or notice any of the above symptoms in anyone around you.
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.