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Monkeypox In Nigeria: What To Know And How To Protect Yourself

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Monkeypox In Nigeria: What To Know And How To Protect Yourself

Monkeypox is back in the news and already, Nigeria has recorded 21 cases of the disease this year.

Newstellers Nigeria reports that 15 of the cases were captured as of April 30, 2022, while the other six happened between that time and May 29.

The increasing outbreak prompted the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to activate a national Multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre for Monkeypox (MPX-EOC) at Level 2 to strengthen and coordinate ongoing response activities in-country.

According to figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control website, between 1971 and 1978, ten human Monkeypox infections were reported in Nigeria. Three were laboratory-confirmed – two in 1971 and one in 1978.

However, Nigeria has had 466 suspected Monkeypox cases between September 2017 and June 2021, of which 205 were confirmed. Of the confirmed cases, there were 88 in 2017, 49 in 2018, 47 in 2019, 8 in 2020 and 13 in 2021. There have been eight deaths since September 2017.

Since May 13, 2022, monkeypox has been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from 23 Member States that are not endemic to the monkeypox virus, across four WHO regions.

It can be transmitted through close contact

It is important to note that Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is typically transmitted through close contact between an animal and human. This can be facilitated through a bite, scratch, or contact with the rash and with “fomites,” material like bedding or clothes contaminated with material from monkeypox lesions.

It is not a sexually-transmitted disease

The virus is generally not considered a sexually transmitted infection and it is not known to be spread through semen during intercourse.

However, “it can be transmitted during sexual and intimate contact”, Dr John Brooks, an epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on May 23.

It causes lesions and rashes

Within one to five days of infection, lesions and rashes typically occur on the hands, face, feet, eyes, mouth and genitals. These eventually turn into raised bumps which form blisters, some also fill with white fluid before breaking and scabbing over. This fluid can be infectious.

The virus is less deadly than smallpox and typically lasts for two to four weeks and symptoms can appear anywhere from five to 21 days after infection.

There’s currently no cure yet

At present, there is no specific treatment recommended for monkeypox by WHO, but there are antivirals licensed to combat orthopoxviruses, such as tecovirimat.

How to protect yourself

There are number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus:

Avoid coming into contact with people recently diagnosed with the virus or those who may have been infected.

Wear a face mask if you are in close contact with someone who has symptoms.

Use condoms and keep an eye out for symptoms if you have recently changed sexual partners.

Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).

Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with a sick animal.

Practice good hand hygiene, especially after coming into contact with infected — or suspected infected — animals or humans. For instance, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Use personal protective equipment when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected monkeypox infection.

Only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly.

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