Early in the week, Monkey Pox, a rare viral zoonosis transmitted from animals to humans, was discovered in Bayelsa State in the South South region of Nigeria.
As of Friday evening, 10 persons had been infected while 49 had been placed under surveillance.
According to the Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Chris Bode, Monkey Pox is similar to small pox, but it’s milder than small pox. He said the infection crosses species when man comes in contact with the animals that are the usual reservoir of infection.
He said the index case must have come in contact with an infected monkey or if the monkey was consumed when it was not properly cooked. If the virus was still alive, given that not all the bacteria are destroyed by heat, then the transmission would take place through that mechanism.
Things to know about the viral infection
- The primary source of contact is from a monkey, whether through eating inadequately cooked monkey meat or meat of an infected animal.
- The secondary channel of transmission is from human to human, especially through body fluid.
- Another channel of contact is contact with materials contaminated with the virus.
- The illness can be fatal in humans, between one per cent and 10 per cent, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
- There is no treatment or vaccine available, although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in prevention.
- Its incubation period is from six to 16 days, but it can also range from five to 21 days.
- Its symptoms could last from 14 to 21 days.
- The invasion period could last from zero to five days.
- The symptoms include fever, intense headache, back pain, abnormal physical weakness or lack of energy, muscular pains and lymphadenopathy.
- Physical manifestation include skin eruption, with 95 per cent on the face and 75 per cent on palms of the hands and sole of feet
- Rashes, characterised by flat, red spot on the skin, covered with small confluent bumps
- If there is no symptom from either partners, there is no need to create tension at home
How to avoid being infected
These are some of the tips suggested by the LUTH CMD:
- Avoid eating monkey meat for now
- Cook all animal products thoroughly
- Avoid body contact with an infected person
- Say no to unnecessary touching like handshakes
- Maintain very high index of suspicion
- Health officers must use protective devices, such as hand gloves
- Report to the hospital if you observe strange feeling
- Wash your hands regularly
- During slaughtering of animal, avoid contact with the animal’s fluid
- Avoid food items like monkey meat, particularly if not properly cooked
- Avoid roasting of monkey meat prior to consumption as most, not all, of the bacteria are destroyed by heat
- Additional information: @drjaameh