As you have probably heard, there is an ongoing outbreak of Monkeypox in Bayelsa.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control released a statement urging everyone to remain calm but vigilant and to know what the symptoms are.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that is similar to smallpox and cowpox. Even though rare, it can cause a serious illness in humans.
The reason why it’s named monkeypox is because it was first discovered among some isolated monkey colonies in Denmark in 1958.
It was not known to affect humans until 1970, when it was discovered in a 9 year old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, there have been some human outbreaks mainly in West and Central Africa.
After a person is infected, it takes about 1-2 weeks before the person would show any symptoms. Some symptoms of monkeypox infection are:
- Muscle ache
- Enlarged lymph nodes (small bean-like organs that help us fight diseases).
It is important to know how what the symptoms are and how to protect yourself, friends and family, especially now that there is an outbreak. Here are 5 important tips for you:
#1. Don’t eat bush meat
Monkeypox is known to be spread to humans from rodents like rats and squirrels. The virus is known to still be present in dead animals that were infected. The consumption of the popular “bush meat” delicacy should be avoided during this period. Even the Federal Government of Nigeria issued a statement warning people about the dangers of eating bush meat during this outbreak of Monkeypox.
#2. Avoid contact with sick animals
Monkeypox has been isolated in rodents and monkeys. Generally, you will want to avoid close contact with any sick animals during this period. The main form of transmission of this disease is from animals to humans. Person-to-person transmission makes only about 10-30% of all transmissions in human outbreaks.
#3. Avoid close contact with infected persons
The virus is usually present in the blood, body fluids and secretions of people who are infected. This includes saliva, tears and urine.
Close contact with infected droplets from coughs and sneezes can also spread the disease.
#4. Wash your hands regularly.
One important way to protect yourself and family members from diseases in general is to wash your hands optimally. Handwashing helps to prevent many diseases, not just monkeypox.
Generally, you should wash your hands after visiting the toilet, after touching animals, before cooking and before eating.
Also, each hand wash should last up to 20 seconds.
#5. Be informed at all times
The last tip for you today is to stay informed. Whenever there is a disease outbreak, the government would always give routine updates about the spread or containment of the disease and you would stay abreast with different steps you can take to stay safe.
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that can sometimes cause outbreaks in humans. It is not as deadly as ebola but can also cause a fatal illness. It is important to avoid close contact with infected animals and persons while ensuring you follow news updates on the illness till the outbreak ends.
Dr Charles-Davies OA is a medical doctor and founder of 25 Doctors, a platform where you can ask doctors medical questions online.