Dr Bassey Bassey, the Delta State Coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has said flooding in various parts of the country contributed to quick spread of monkey pox across the affected states.
Bassey said this in Abuja on Thursday at a one-day colloquium organised by the Association of Medical Scientists of Nigeria, FCT branch.
Speaking on the theme, “Perennial flooding in Nigeria: Communicable diseases and looming antimicrobial resistance”, the WHO coordinator said floodwater was a major source of infectious communicable diseases because animals defecate in floodwater, which humans come in contact with.
Bassey, who was represented by Dr Casmir Ifeanyi, said: “Flooding is known to facilitate infectious disease transmission.
“It is no longer in doubt. Therefore, that will expose affected communities to outbreak of epidemics, zootomic and other epizootic effects such as cholera and of course we have had reported cases of cholera this year.
“Until proved otherwise, I think that flooding has a role in the sudden outbreak of monkey pox. This has been here before and it was never a problem but these things are now becoming dislodged from their normal habitat and moving towards us (humans).
“So, when flooding happens, this is what you see. For floods that last for seven days, expect waterborne diseases. Those lasting for one to four weeks, expect rodent-borne diseases. And the floods exceeding four weeks, you will have a combination of all.”
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who was represented by Dr Adedeji Adebayo, said floodwater had become the major source of infectious diseases.
He added: “Floodwater can be a source of disease outbreak through contamination with sewage water, human waste, animal waste, animal dead bodies, soil pathogens, deadly particles and chemicals.
“And floodwater can also be a vector-breeding site and venomous animals like snakes. Floodwater can contain disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites. Floodwater can become contaminated with agricultural waste, chemicals, raw sewage and other pollutants.”
He identified some of the flood-prone areas as states within Rivers Benue and Niger and the coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross River, Jigawa, Kaduna and Lagos.
Ihekweazu said animals were usually treated with antibiotics and when humans eat them, they sometimes become resistant to the antibiotics, thereby leading to the spread of infectious diseases.