Fear has gripped the residents of Bayelsa state as a new deadly viral epidemic known as “Monkeypox”, has broken out in the state.
A medical doctor and 10 others who came down with the monkey pox have been quarantined in an isolation centre created at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri.
The state Commissioner of Health, prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, who confirmed the development, said samples of the virus, had been sent to the World Health Organisation(WHO) laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for confirmation.
He described Monkey pox as viral disease caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and small pox adding that the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently had outbreaks in West Africa.
Etebu added: “The source is usually all animals. It was first seen in Monkeys and that is why it is called Monkey pox. But every bush animal like rats, squirrels, antelopes are involved. So, the secretions from particularly dead animals are highly contagious.”
The Commissioner listed the systoms of Monkey pox as severe headache, fever and back pain amongst others, adding that most worrisome of all the signs were rashes bigger than those caused by Chicken pox.