Monkeypox Outbreak: Ebonyi records first case, isolates Patient
By Charles Onyekwere, ABAKALIKI
Ebonyi State Government says it has recorded its first case of monkeypox disease in the State.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike who confirmed this in Abakaliki said that one of the 32 suspected cases of monkeypox recorded in the state has been confirmed positive.
Umezuruike said he got the notification of the first suspected case on the 10th of August, 2022 at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.
He explained: “a 32-year-old male farmer who hails from Ugwulangwu in Ohaozara Local Government Area but resides in Abakaliki, said to have travelled to Rivers State returned to Ebonyi on 7th of July 2022 presented with a history of fever, maculopapular rash, sore throat, headache and generalized weakness of the body.
“A presumptive diagnosis of Monkeypox was made to rule out Smallpox, the sample was collected and sent to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory and the result came out positive for Monkeypox Virus.”
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The patient in his words was admitted to the Ebonyi State isolation centre, but is currently being managed for monkeypox and also responding to treatment.
He added that “seven (7) contacts have been identified and line listed which are currently been followed up,” saying “the active case search has been heightened across all the LGAs in the State to strengthen case finding;” pointing out that “since the onset of this outbreak, Ebonyi has recorded a total of 32 suspected cases with only 1 confirmed case.”
Umezurike stated that presently, the case fatality rate is still zero (0) as there have been no records of any death both in suspected and confirmed cases in the state.
He said that the “EOC has been activated to coordinate the outbreak investigation and response across the 13LGAs in the State 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, even though the “Public Health measures have been put in place to ensure effective sample collection and testing to enable laboratory confirmation.”
He noted that the risk communication activities have been heightened, and as well advised the public to take preventive measures strictly.
The Health Commissioner further explained: “In light of the above, it is important to be reminded that monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in smallpox patients, but much 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.
“The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified efforts to eliminate smallpox. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.
“Case fatality rate is 1% to 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups and immunocompromised patients. The animal reservoir is not yet known but is highly suspected to be small mammal species such as rodents.
“The Orthopoxvirus genus (to which monkeypox belongs) also includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox) and cowpox virus. The NCDC standard case definition for monkeypox: is an acute illness with a fever greater than 38.3◦C, intense headache, lymphadenopathy, back pain, myalgia and intense asthenia followed 1 to 3 days later by progressive developing rash often beginning on the face and then spreading elsewhere on the body, including soles of feet and palms of the hand. WHO has declared monkeypox as a disease of a public health emergency?
“Transmission is via contact with an infected animal, Human, or contaminated materials. Animals-to-Human transmission occurs through bites or scratches from animals and bush meat preparation.
“It can also be transmitted from person to person. Human-to-Human transmission occurs through respiratory droplets, contact with infected persons or contaminated materials. Control measures include isolation of confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions, especially frequent hand-washing with soap and water, use of face masks, maintaining social distance to suspected and confirmed cases, avoiding contact with a rodent, and meat should be properly cooked before consumption and use of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
“Signs and symptoms include Fever, headache, generalized body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), sore throat, rash (the rash will appear 1 to 3 days after onset of fever and the rash often begin on the face and then spread to limbs, trunks, genitalia, 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 the condition are required and mostly successful.”
He advised Ebonyians to remain calm and go about their normal business but to avoid self-medication by reporting any suspected case to the nearest health facility while adhering to public health measures strictly.
He also disclosed that the treatment of the disease has been made free through the support of the Ebonyi State government.