Much has been said about the dreaded monkey pox as various pictures and rumors have continued to circulate the internet thus increasing its fear factor. But what exactly is monkey pox? How is it spread? Who is at risk of contracting this illness and what are its possible cure? If any.
According to Dr. Victor Dike, Secretary of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Imo State chapter, it’s a viral disease of the ‘Orthopox’ virus family known to affect monkeys and wild animals (hence the name monkey pox). It can be passed from infected animals to human beings or from one person to another. The first case of monkey pox was recorded around 1971 and 1978, to date, according to some health workers, nobody has tested positive for monkey pox apart from the three recorded cases in Bayelsa State according to WHO. With no available protective vaccine, no specific treatment, no cure and no testing center save for the WHO Regional Laboratory in Dakar Senegal, there is the need to raise awareness about the risk factors of monkey pox and employ public education about the measures that must be taken to reduce exposure to the virus though
Here are some tips from the NigerianCenter for Disease Control (NCDC):
- Avoid contact with wildlife (bushmeat) that died of unknown causes
- Supportive care can be provided to patients as monkey pox has a high rate of recovery and often self-heals, the public is advised not to panic.
- Symptoms include headache, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes, fever, pustular rash and body aches.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water especially after caring or visiting sick people.
- Always make sure meat is well cooked before consumption.
With the latest outbreak, one asks, is it not yet time to equip our health system to the best standard; is it not yet time to employ the best approaches in combating epidemics like these?