From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Following the outbreak of monkeypox and its effects in Europe and America, the Federal Government said it has beefed up surveillance at Nigeria’s entry points.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, at a press briefing yesterday, in Abuja, assured Nigerians and the international community that there was no cause for alarm.
Abubakar said: “In view of the current outbreaks in Europe and the Americas, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working assiduously in collaboration with relevant sectors and stakeholders to intensify surveillance in the animal population and at the point of entry for wildlife as well as creating awareness among hunting communities and the general public on the prevention of the disease.
“This press briefing, became very necessary since the outbreak of the disease if left unchecked would likely affect the population of our farmers and significantly would lead to low agricultural production and productivity.
“The general public is hereby advised to avoid contact with animals that could harbour the virus including animals that are sick or found dead where monkeypox occurs; avoid contact with any material such as bedding that has been in contact with a sick animal; practice good hand hygiene such as the washing of hands and the use of alcohol-based sanitisers after contact with infected animals or humans.
“The Ministry would like to assure the general public and the international community of her resolve to continue to collaborate with relevant sectors and stakeholders to promptly contain the disease in the event of an outbreak in the country.”
He explained that, “monkeypox is a zoonotic infectious disease which was first detected in 1958 in monkeys, rodents are now seen as possible means of transmission of the disease to man and animals.
Monkeypox is primarily a disease of non-human primates like Chimpanzees.
“It is a self-limiting disease with symptoms of bump rashes in humans which is usually mild and lasts between 2-4 weeks with a 3-6% fatality rate.
The disease is transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal and material contaminated with the virus.
The main means of transmission is usually spillover from animals, man to man transmission is less common.
“The disease clinically resembles smallpox. Some identified risk factors include hunting, illegal trade in wildlife, handling of wildlife in wildlife markets.”