Editorial

Monkey Pox on the loose

 

In Nigeria lately, there is an outbreak of a disease known as “Monkeypox”. Prior to this time, what we are used to with regard to this kind of ailment are miseales, small and chicken pox. The monkey part of the pox family appears new. Having gained notoriety, it is pertinent to ensure the country do not come down with an epidemic. In considering what it is we are talking about, here are a few facts about this disease, yes, the disease affects humans. Even though it is named after monkeys, it also affects humans. The reason behind its name is that it was discovered among monkeys in Denmark in 1958. This means it is not as new as we think.
By 1970, it was first reported among humans when a 9-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo was found to have contracted the disease. Congo has a way of coming in contact with a lot of these ailments. Secondly, the pox is caused by a virus that can be deadly. Monkey Pox is a disease caused by a viral infection. The virus is in the same genus as smallpox and cowpox. The virus can cause an illness in humans that can be fatal.
When we say it is deadly, it means that the disease causes death it does not mean that it leads to death immediately or everyone that comes in contact with it dies. In reality, it causes death in less than 10 per cent of people that are infected with it. If placed side by side smallpox or ebola virus, the mortality rate is lower. Although smallpox has been eradicated from nature, its common form killed about 30 per cent of people infected. Also, it caused facial scars on up to 80% of people who had it. On the other hand, Ebola virus, is several times more deadly than monkeypox. The last outbreak in West Africa killed more than 50 per cent of people who got infected.
Like other poxes, Monkey Pox starts with a fever. So we have to report to health authorities within 7-14 days after a person is infected, the person would start showing signs and symptoms like fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain, enlargement of lymph nodes, body weakness. It should be noted that 1-3 days after the fever starts, a rash develops. The rash is known to start from the face, and then spreads to other parts of the body. The illness usually lasts about 2-4 weeks.
The symptoms are quite similar to smallpox. A major difference however, is that Monkey Pox has significant enlargement of lymph nodes, while smallpox doesn’t have that as a characteristic feature. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that make up an important part of the immune system. People must be careful because this pox can be gotten from rodents. This is another lassa fever! Apart from monkeys, the pox virus has been isolated in rodents like rats and squirrels. The primary method by which human outbreaks start, is when a person comes in close contact with an infected animal.
It is simply time again to avoid “bush meat”. Infected rodents can be hunted and then eaten, hence, increasing the likelihood of a human outbreak, especially if the meat isn’t thoroughly cooked. It can easily be spread from person to person through close contact with an infected person. Example includes close contact with respiratory secretions like sneeze and cough droplets, can lead to the spread of the Monkey Pox virus. Also, contact with an infected person’s blood, body fluids, rash and clothing can spread the virus. This is why it is important for infected people to be identified and quarantined.
A couple of infected people have already been quarantined in Bayelsa state, including a health worker. This kind of contagious disease must be treated with the attention it deserves. Any ailment that is gotten through the process enumerated above can cause serious havoc in our country, although death ratio is relatively lower than the disease’s contemporaries. We need to observe strict personal and environmental hygeine. By the same token, the practice of hand washing, sanitisers and avoidance of certain meat options should be taken serious for now.
Government on its part must treat all such health challenges as priority cases. Serious enlightenment should immediately kickoff. Also, help should reach those affected or fear of being affected as quickly as possible.

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