Monkeypox: Avoid Contacts with Monkeys, Squirrels & Rodents, NCDC Warns

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Monkeypox: Avoid Contacts with Monkeys, Squirrels & Rodents, NCDC Warns
Monkeypox patient

Sequel to the outbreak of Monkeypox in Nigeria and other nations of the world, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned citizens to avoid contacts with suspected animal carriers of the monkeypox virus, which are monkeys, squirrels and rodents.

This is even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently alerted nations of a multi-country monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries, as epidemiological investigations revealed no travel links to endemic areas, from reported cases so far.

According to the apex health institution, current available evidence suggests severe cases occur among children as well as those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic.

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The WHO, through a statement on its website, further highlighted countries in Europe and North America, with confirmed cases of monkeypox, with Spain, Portugal and United Kingdom leading with highest number of infections, followed by others like Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Australia, Canada, Portugal, Netherlands, United States of America, and Belgium.

Monkeypox: Avoid Contacts with Monkeys, Squirrels & Rodents, NCDC Warns
Geographical distribution of confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox in non-endemic between 13 to 21 May 2022. Source: WHO

The NCDC, via its Telegram handle on Monday, noted that the infectious disease transmission occurs through bites or scratches from animals and the preparation of infected bush meat, thus, cautioned Nigerians to steer clear from suspected infected animals, dead or alive.

Although the health agency noted 46 suspected cases had been reported with 15 confirmed in the country so far, it described the viral infection as a self-limiting disease, from which most patients can recover with proper care.

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“Monkeypox is usually self-limiting with symptoms lasting between 2 and 3 weeks.  Severe cases occur more commonly among children.

“Animal to human transmission may occur by direct contact with blood, body fluids, skin or mucosal lesions of infected animals such as monkeys, squirrels and rodents”, NCDC stated.

Other preventive measures as highlighted by the NCDC include: “Avoiding contact with any material that has been in contact with a sick animal; Isolation of potentially infected animals from other animals; Quarantine of any animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal, handling them with standard precautions and observing for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days and washing with soap and water after contact with infected animals”.

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It added: “Thoroughly cooking of all animal products before eating; Isolation of infected patients, including use of personal protective equipment and implementation of standard infection control precautions by health workers; Regular hand washing after caring for or visiting sick people; as well as public health education on preventive measures”.

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