Monkey pox, which started with an index case in Bayelsa on September 22, has spread to six other states, including Lagos. There are 31 cases, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said yesterday.
NCDC National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu listed the states as Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Ogun and Cross River.
He said samples had been collected from each suspected case for laboratory confirmation. Said Ihekweazu: “It is unlikely that many of the suspected cases are actually monkey pox, but all are being investigated.”
He said all the suspected cases were receiving medical care and the patients improving clinically in their various states. Ihekweazu said the centre had activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to coordinate the outbreak investigation and response across the affected states.
“The EOC is currently supporting state ministries of Health in their response to the outbreak through active case finding, epidemiological investigation and contact tracing.
Measures have been put in place to ensure effective sample collection and testing to enable laboratory confirmation. Risk communication activities have been heightened to advise the public on preventive measures. All 36 states and the FCT have been notified for preparedness,” he explained.
The Lagos State Government confirmed yesterday that it had recorded two suspected cases and appealed to residents to remain calm and vigilant.
Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris told reporters that the two suspected cases were being investigated.
“Though no confirmed case has been recorded, there is need to sensitise members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the policy of the state government,” he said.
Idris said the two suspected cases were recorded in a private hospital which he did not name. He added that one of the suspected cases just came from Bayelsa State and ate bush meat.
Idris said the two suspected cases had been quarantined in their various houses pending the result of the investigation.
The commissioner said in the wake of this outbreak, the government was reiterating the need for members of the public to observe and maintain a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease to the State.
He urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the nearest public health facility or the Directorate of Disease Control in the Ministry of Health.
“Also, health workers are advised to practise universal safety precautions in the management of suspected or confirmed cases, wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when attending to cases, wash hands after each contact with patient or contaminated materials while surveillance system must be strengthened.
“The state government has mobilised the Disease Surveillance Officers in the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in the state and health workers in both public and private health facilities have been placed on high alert,” Idris said.
Idris called on residents to remain calm and go about their businesses without fear as the government had put in place adequate measures to effectively prevent and control the spread of the infection to the state.
“In case of any suspected case of Monkey Pox, the Lagos State Ministry of Health should be notified through the following mobile lines: 08037170614, 09087106072,” the commissioner said.