The Akwa Ibom State government said yesterday that at least 18 suspected cases of monkey pox have been recorded in three communities in Mkpat Enin local government area of the state.
The state commissioner for health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Uyo, said only one out of the 18 cases has been clinically confirmed.
He noted that results of five cases were still being awaited and that all the suspected cases were in three communities of Ikot Akpaden, Ikot Enin and Ndon in Mkpat Enin local government area.
The commissioner said his ministry through its public health department has activated its infectious control procedure to address the epidemic and has so far successfully confined it to the affected local government.
He said since cases of monkey pox was still prevalent in the neighbouring states, Akwa Ibom was at risk of recording new cases.
“In Nigeria, as at October 24, 93 suspected cases have been reported, 43 cases were confirmed, only one death was reported and that was in Lagos State.
“Although 10 states were affected – Lagos, Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom , Rivers , Imo, Enugu and Anambra – with a total number of 93 cases in the country, 54 per cent were from two states – Delta (28 per cent) and Lagos (26 per cent).
“Since the beginning of the outbreak in 2017, 176 confirmed cases and nine deaths were reported before this year’s outbreak.
“Monkey pox is a rare viral zoonotic infection. It is, an infection transmitted from animals to humans and it occurs sporadically, primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical forests. It is caused by monkeypox viruses which also cause smallpox and cowpox.
“Case fatality in the outbreak has been between 1 per cent and 10 per cent, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups,” he said.