The Ebonyi State Government on Monday confirmed one case of monkeypox in the state and 32 suspected cases. The state Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezuruike, disclosed this to reporters in Abakaliki. According to Mr Umezuruike, since the outset of the disease, Ebonyi had recorded a total of 32 suspected cases with only one confirmed.
“Case fatality rate is still 0 (as there have been no record of any death both in suspected and confirmed cases) in the state.”
He said this followed the notification of a suspected case of monkeypox on 10 August at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.
“A 32-year old male, a native of Ugwulangwu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi but resides in Abakaliki, said to have travelled to Rivers State returned to Ebonyi on July 7.
“The man is presented with history of fever, masculopapular rash, sore throat, headache and generalised weakness of the body.
“A presumptive diagnosis of Monkeypox was made to rule out Smallpox. Sample was collected and sent to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory and the result came out positive for Monkeypox Virus.
“The patient was admitted into Ebonyi Isolation Centre and is currently being managed for monkeypox and he is responding to treatment,” he stated.
Mr Umezuruike stated that seven contacts were identified and line listed which were currently being followed up.
He explained that active case search had been heightened across all the 13 local government areas in the state to strengthen case finding.
“Health officers have been activated to coordinate the outbreak investigation and response across the 13 LGAs and is currently supporting response activities to contain the monkeypox outbreak via active case search, epidemiological investigation, contact line listing and monitoring of all exposed contacts.
“Public Health measures have been put in place to ensure effective sample collection and testing to enable laboratory confirmation.
“Risk communication activities have been heightened to advise the public on preventive measures,” he stated.
The commissioner explained that monkeypox was a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms in human similar to those seen in smallpox patients.
“It is less severe and with a low case fatality rate. It has an incubation period of 5 to 21 days. Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name monkeypox.
“Transmission is via contact with infected animal, human or contaminated materials. Animals-to-Human transmission occurs through bite or scratch from animals and bush meat preparation.
“It can also be transmitted from person to person. Human-to-Human transmission occur through respiratory droplets, contact with infected persons or contaminated materials,” he said.
The commissioner said the control measures included isolation of confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions, especially frequent hand-washing with soap and water.
“Use of face mask, maintaining social distance to suspected and confirmed cases, avoid contact with rodents, meat should be properly cooked before consumption and use of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers,” he said.
Mr Umezuruike added that the signs and symptoms included fever, headache, generalised body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), sore throat, rash (the rash will appear one to three days after onset of fever.
“The rash often begins on the face and then spreads to limbs, trunks, genitelia, palms and soles) and intense asthenia (lack of energy).
“Monkeypox is self-limiting which means patients tend to recover with time. However, supportive care and management of condition is required and mostly successful,” the commissioner explained.
He urged residents of the state to remain calm and go about their normal businesses.
“Avoid self-medication and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility. Public health measures are to be strictly adhered to. Treatment is free and is being supported by Ebonyi State Government,” he added.