Residents of Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, have been gripped with fear following an outbreak of viral epidemic known as Monkey Pox in the state, with report that has allegedly infected ten persons. Authorities in the state were said to be tracking 49 persons alleged to have come in contact with the infected persons.
The victims, according to sources, have been quarantined in an isolation centre created at the Niger Delta University Hospital, NDUTH, 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 at the ourbreak of the epidemic.
The NCDC and the epidemiological team, it was learned, were tracking 49 other individuals, said to have come in contact with the infected persons. The state Commissioner for Health, Professor Ebitimitula Etebu, while confirming the development, said samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organisation, WHO, laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for confirmation. He described Monkey Pox as a viral illness caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and small pox, noting that the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently it had outbreaks in the West African region. Explaining that the virus had the Central African and the West African types, the commissioner said the West African type was milder and had no records of mortality, saying “recently in Bayelsa State, we noticed a suspected outbreak of Monkey Pox. “It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organization, WHO, reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. When that comes out we will be sure that it is confirmed. So, the secretions from particularly dead animals are highly contagious. ”He listed the disease’s symptoms to include severe headache, fever, back pains among others. According to him, “most worrisome of all the signs are rashes bigger than those caused by chicken pox, which is usually frightening and usually spread to the whole body of infected persons. The Commissioner said: “We noticed the index case from Agbura, where somebody was purported to have killed and eaten a monkey and after neighbours and family members started developing these rashes.