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Monkey Pox: Do not panic, Akwa Ibom Gov’t urges residents

By Asma’u Ahmad

The Akwa Ibom State Government has advised residents of the state notto panic over the outbreak of monkey pox disease.

According to the state government, there is no confirmed case in the state.  The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong gave the advice at a news conference in Uyo, the state capital on Monday.

Dr Ukpong said that information on suspected monkey pox was first reported in the state on October 5, in one of the general hospitals.

Dr. Dominic Ukpong

“On October 5, 2017, we got information of a suspected case in a general hospital and immediately visited the patient, who was already in proper isolation. On the same date, we also received information about a female petty trader who had suspicious rashes and reached out to her and found her and her two children with similar rashes.

“We quarantined her with her kids in her home while we continue to visit, monitor and trace her contacts. No definitive diagnosis of the virus in the state and therefore there is no confirmation of the spread of the disease only suspected cases.

“It is only in Senegal that there is equipment to confirm the disease, so samples of all suspected cases have been sent for confirmation,” Ukpong said.

The Commissioner for Health said that the state government had taken precautionary measures to check any outbreak. He said that the state government had also reactivated the Infectious Disease Emergency Rapid Response Team to monitor health facilities across the state.

According to him, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Ikot Ekpene-Infectious Disease Hospital has been restructured to take care of any suspected case.

Dr Ukpong said that the state government had trained about 25 doctors and 75 nurses to respond to any emergency situation in the state. “All health facilities and workers therein have been notified to be on alert and exercise high index of suspicion.”

He urged residents of the state be calm and report any symptom of fever to the nearest heath facility for medical attention instead of self-medication.

The commissioner stressed the need for residents to observe personal hygiene, avoid handshake and wash their hands regularly. He advised medical personnel to observe and practice universal precautions by wearing their mask, hand gloves and coat while handling all patients.

Ukpong, however, maintained that monkey pox was a mild disease that could be handled as it rarely causes death

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