bayelsa monkeypox enugu
FILE: This 7-year-old Congolese child developed monkeypox after hunting squirrels in the forest surrounding her village.

The Bayelsa State government has confirmed at least 10 cases of Monkeypox in the state. The state commissioner for health, Ebitimitula Etebu confirmed that 10 people including a medical doctor have been quarantined.

According to the World Health Organisation, monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

Prof Etebu said the government is leaving no stones unturned in making sure that the situation is contained. He described monkeypox as a viral disease caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and smallpox, adding that the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently had outbreaks in West Africa.

Saying the virus has the Central African and the West African types, the commissioner said the West African type is milder and has no records of mortality.

“Recently in Bayelsa State we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkeypox. It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. When that comes out we will be sure that it is confirmed. But from all indications, it points towards it,” he said.

He said as the name implied, the virus was first seen in monkey, but could also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.

The state commissioner for health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, confirmed the development, saying that samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for confirmation.

Investigations indicate that a medical doctor and 10 persons who came down with the monkeypox had been quarantined in an isolation centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.

The isolation centre was reportedly created by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) and the epidemiological team of the state’s Ministry of Health to control the spread of the virus.

The NCDC and the epidemiological team were said to be tracking 49 other persons who were said to have come in contact with persons who were already infected.

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