A new viral disease known as “Monkey Pox” has hit Bayelsa state. According to the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu who spoke to newsmen today, the disease has been detected in a medical doctor and 10 other persons and that they have all been evacuated to an isolation center located at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri, Yenagoa local government area of the state.
Etebu described monkeypox as a viral disease caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and smallpox, adding that the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently had outbreaks in West Africa. He said that the virus as the name implies was first discovered in monkeys but can also be found in other bush animals such as rats, squirrels, and antelopes. He stressed that the strain of the virus found in West Africa does not cause death.
“Recently in Bayelsa State we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkey pox. It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. When that comes out we will be sure that it is confirmed. But from all indications, it points towards it. The source is usually all animals. It was first seen in monkeys and that is why it is called monkey pox. But every bush animals like rats, squirrels, antelopes are involved. So, the secretions from particularly dead animals are highly contagious.” he said
The commissioner listed the symptoms of the viral disease as severe headache, fever and back pain amongst others, adding that most worrisome of all the signs were rashes bigger than those caused by chicken pox