By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewale has urged Nigerians not to stigmatize those infected with the Monkey Pox Virus, saying that the virus is not a death sentence.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, Prof. Adewale disclosed that since the initial 17 suspected cases detected in Bayelsa State, a total of 43 suspected cases have been reported from eighth other States, adding that only three cases from Bayelsa State tested positive of the disease.
He cited these States to include; Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ekiti, Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa, Rivers and FCT.
According to him, “It is my wish that we reassure the Nigerian nation that Monkey Pox Virus is not a death sentence and therefore we should treat those who have it with compassion, So that we do not stigmatize them.
“As at 13th of October 2017 there were 17 suspected cases reported from Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. We have received laboratory confirmation for monkey pox Virus from three of these cases at the WHO regional laboratory in Dakar Senegal. Samples from 12 other cases from Bayelsa were negative. We are still awaiting results from two samples. With this result we can confirm authoritatively that three suspected Monkey Pox cases have been confirmed”.
He said of the cases reported so far, four cases from Lagos State have been tested and confirmed to be negative of the Monkey Pox Virus.
“We expect that these cases being reported in several States of the country are not caused by the Monkey Pox Virus but we shall continue to investigate all those cases”.
On his part,the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer, National Center for Disease Control, Doctor Chikwe Ihekweazu, listed measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of Virus to include; avoiding contact with squirrels, rats and monkeys.
He noted that, “it is important we remember that the largest risk period is in catching and killing these animals and not in the eating of the meat.
“In cases where animals are sick or are dead, avoid contact with them. The public is also advised to wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relative”.
He pointed out that no deaths have been recording, stating that all those suspected to have been infected are doing very well.
He further disclosed that “the Federal Ministry of Health through the NCDC has established an emergency operation center and will continue to coordinate the response across States and test samples from all cases that fits the case definition”.
Monkey Pox begins with headache, fever, muscle aches, just like many diseases in our environment but the key distinguishing factors are rash on the face, and palm and soles of the feet, swelling of glands in the victim’s armpits and groin area.