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Nigeria Sets Up Inter-Ministerial Committee On Monkey Pox Virus Outbreak  

Nigeria’s Federal Government has set up an inter–Ministerial committee to sensitize and fast track collaboration as well as prevent the spread of the Monkey Pox disease in the country.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, said on Thursday while briefing the media on the spread of the virus that the Ministry, through the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, is working assiduously in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and Agencies to adequately sensitize the general public on the outbreak of money pox virus for early containment.

Abubakar stated that the Ministry was working in collaboration with Ministries of Health and Environment 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.

 Stating that “there were reported outbreaks of monkey pox disease in Europe and Americas,” the Minister added that ‘’since the 13th  May 2022, cases of monkey pox have been reported to World Health Organization (WHO) from 12 member states that are not endemic for monkey pox virus across WHO regions; Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America.”

 He pointed out that “Monkey pox 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.”

 Dr. Abubakar added that, “It is a self-limiting disease with symptoms of bump rashes in humans which is usually mild and lasts between 2-4 weeks with 3-6% fatality rate.”

 He informed that, “the main means of transmission is usually due to 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.”

 The Minister advised the general public ‘’to avoid contact with animals that could harbour the virus including animals that are sick or found dead where monkey pox 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 sanitizers after contact with infected animals or humans’’.

 In the interactive session, Dr. Abubakar said that Nigeria Quarantine Services and other related agencies are stationed at every entry point of ports / borders to detect, inspect and detain any one with symptoms of the disease.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has distributed to State Ministries of Agriculture, Veterinary Teaching Hospitals (VTHs) and Research Institutes to enhance effective diagnosis, efficient animal health service delivery and early detection of monkey pox outbreak.  

Speaking further, he informed that there was no recorded case of monkey pox in Nigeria but detected in the neighbouring country.  

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