He said 19 fresh cases had been recorded across the country, aside from the 12 cases that were earlier recorded in Bayelsa State. According to the statement, other states where the disease has been discovered are Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River States.
“Following the notification of a suspected Monkeypox outbreak on September 22, 2017 in Bayelsa State, other suspected cases have been reported from six more states, bringing the total number of suspected cases to 31 across seven states.
“Samples have been collected from each suspected case for laboratory confirmation and the results are still being awaited. So far, there have been no deaths recorded. It is unlikely that many of the suspected cases are actually monkeypox, as they were all being investigated.”
Ihekweazu explained that the suspected cases are currently receiving appropriate medical care, even as the patients were improving clinically. He said the Federal Ministry of Health, through the NCDC was supporting the affected states to ensure that the outbreak was brought under control.
The epidemiologist disclosed that the NCDC had activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to coordinate investigation and response to the disease.
The symptoms include fever, headache, body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (enlargement of glands), sore throat and the characteristic generalised vesicular rash.
While urging general cleanliness, he added that the rashes might last between two to four weeks. Monkeypox is self-limiting, which means patients could recover with time.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said the blood samples from the two suspected cases in the state had been taken to the laboratory to verify their status.
Idris said although there was no specific vaccine for the disease, the vaccination against small pox has been proven to be 85 per cent effective in preventing the disease.
He urged residents to avoid close contact with infected people, wash their hands with soap, as well as avoid the consumption of bush meat and dead animals.
In Akwa Ibom State, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong urged the residents not to panic. He said: “It is only Senegal that has the equipment to confirm the disease, so the samples of all suspected cases have been sent for confirmation.”
In Rivers State, two patients suspected to be infected with the virus are currently hospitalised at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, (UPTH).
The Chief Medical Director of the Institution, Prof. Aaron Ojule, who disclosed this yesterday, said the patients are in isolation ward where experts were managing their condition, pending the outcome of the samples taken for examination.