Is monkeypox going to be another pandemic Nigeria has to deal with? The next ticking time bomb?

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Nigeria has confirmed 15 cases of monkeypox and recorded 59 suspected cases

In 2020, countries around the world were brought to their knees by the novel coronavirus disease, which was first discovered in Wuhan, China and which has since changed the way people work, disrupted science and the economy, and shaped healthcare around the world.

With medical experts and scientists struggling to come up with drugs and vaccines to control the pandemic, another viral infection, monkeypox, emerged after the last outbreak in 2017, which could pose a public health problem.

Just as COVID-19 cases shifted from zero to hundreds while claiming human lives, the number of people infected with monkeypox is increasing with isolated cases of the disease in several Nigerian states.

In recent days, Nigeria has confirmed 15 cases of monkeypox and recorded 59 suspected cases, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

Monkeypox, a viral infection that belongs to the same smallpox family and is found mainly in the rainforests of central and west Africa, presents with symptoms such as fever, rash on the face and body, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, and back pain. .

Viral diseases are usually transmitted from animals to humans. It can be passed from person to person when a person comes into close contact with skin lesions, bodily fluids of an infected person, or contaminated items such as bedclothes, according to the Nigerian Agency for Disease Control.

While there is no specific treatment for the disease, a vaccinia-based vaccine was approved for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox in 2019 and is not yet widely used in the public sector, according to the World Health Organization.

In Benin City, Edo state epidemiologist Uwa Ohuarobo said they activated a red alert system to ensure monkeypox, like other priority diseases, was limited.

Ohuarobo said, “We have positioned our response materials; The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is in surveillance mode and switched to alarm mode as we already have cases in neighboring countries.

“This is how COVID-19 started; people were carefree and this turned into a pandemic. Our health authorities must handle it with care to avoid another outbreak. “

To allay fears, the NCDC recently said it would respond to the monkeypox outbreak as it would any other epidemic disease in the country.

Chikwe Ihekweazou, the agency’s director general, who spoke to reporters in Abuja last Tuesday, said the outbreak would be explained if there were a large number of cases of monkeypox which is an emergency.

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