MONKEY POX – WHAT IS IT?
Monkeypox is a communicable disease caused by the Monkey Pox Virus (an Orthopoxvirus) which is characterized by fever, headache, muscle pain, and numerous rashes. The Monkey Pox Virus can be transmitted from animal to man, or from man to man. Animals implicated in the former include but not necessarily limited to monkeys, chimpanzees, rats, squirrels, and rabbits. For the latter, a human must as a matter of fact be infected to be able to infect other humans.
The first recorded case of Monkeypox was in 1958, identified in a laboratory monkey kept for research purposes. In 1970, the first human case was identified in the town of Bansonkusu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Nigeria recorded its first case in 1971 together with Cote d’Ivoire. The first human infection outside Africa was documented in 2003 in the United States where 47 cases were reported. On September 22nd of 2017, an outbreak of the viral epidemic occurred in Bayelsa state and has since manifested also in Rivers, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Cross Rivers, and Akwa Ibom state.
Transmission from a human to a human usually involves contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. These fluids would include Sweat, Urine, Blood, Semen, and Saliva.
RISK FACTORS FOR ITS TRANSMISSION
- Improper or poor handling of infected animals
- Sharing a bed with an infected person
- Sharing utensils with an infected person
- Lack of general hygiene in areas with known cases of infection
- Washing of hands regularly. This shouldn’t be the usual washing of hands that baby Junior does when his mum calls him from the mud to come to eat morsels of garri. Hand sanitizers are not bad either.
- Proper handling of animals and their products. Wash your hands again properly with soap and rinse with flowing water.
- Quarantine every known infected person and animal. Dead animals should be burnt and buried, not a free ticket to place 3 chicken drumsticks on a bowl of rice.
- Personal hygiene is much needed here.
- Health education is important too.
There is currently no cure for Monkeypox. It is a self-limiting disease and symptoms would usually last from 2-3 weeks. Severe cases usually occur in children but are related to the degree of exposure. However, the vaccine for Smallpox has been known to be about 85% effective in combating Monkeypox. But with the global eradication of Smallpox, the vaccine is not available at the moment. Proper management, education, and precautions are all that we have for now.