What you should know about Monkeypox and how to prevent it

There is always a reason to know about this disease, as it is break-out in down south of Nigeria.

Though the governments have allayed people's fear about the spread of the disease/virus to other parts of the country, there is a need to know more about the virus. The state’s Commissioner of Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, told local media that it is effectively managing the situation.

"The situation is under control but we are taking further steps to enlighten the public about personal hygiene and to be careful with any wild animals around them. We are harping on increased washing of hands,” the government official said.

However, there is still a high probability of this virus getting out of its current location, hence the need to take necessary precautions by all.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Monkeypox is a rare viral transmitted to a human from interactions with animals, and shows similar human symptoms to smallpox patients but less severe.

The virus was discovered in 1958 by the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. First human monkeypox took place in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In Africa, the following are the primary source of contracting the virus.

i.    Direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or wounds of infected animals. Major vectors of this virus are monkeys, rodents - Gambian giant rat, and prairie dogs.

ii.    Eating of infected animals.

For secondary source, it is only human to human contact.

Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days. Severe cases occur more commonly among children.

Monkeypox has 5-20 days interval between infection and onset of symptoms. For the first five days, which is termed the invasion period, the infected person experiences fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy).

Within 6-8 days, the appearance of rashes on the face (95% chances) and palms of the hands (75% chances) as well as soles of the feet (75% chances).

According to the WHO, "the evolution of the rash from maculopapules (lesions with flat bases) to vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters), pustules, followed by crusts occurs in approximately 10 days."

There is no specific treatments or vaccines available for the virus, as such the best strategy is to prevent an outbreak and possible spread.

However, WHO stated that the vaccinations for smallpox are 85% effective for treatment of the epidemic.

1.    Regular handwashing is the first way to prevent infection.

2.    Stay away from body fluids, lesions, respiratory tract secretions, or objects recently used by monkeypox patients.

3.    Ensure proper cooking of animal flesh or meat before eating. This is because the virus is still active in infected dead animals.

4.    Limit interactions with stray animals, especially in tropic areas.

5.    Quarantine infected persons and animals

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