Efforts has been made by Akwa Ibom State Government to eradicate monkey pox from the state. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong disclosed this to journalists at the Press Conference on the outbreak of suspected monkey pox in Akwa Ibom State held at conference hall Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health, State Secretariat, Uyo.

Dr. Ukpong while counting some of the actions taken by the state government mentioned, the commissioner said that the state government has reactivated Infectious Disease Emergency rapid response team are reactivated and Emergency Operations Centre, EOC (the restructured former IDH in Ikot Ekpene) has been reactivated.

“Since then, the following actions have been taken by Government:

Infectious Disease Emergency rapid response team has been reactivated.

Emergency Operations Centre, EOC (restructured former IDH in Ikot Ekpene) has been reactivated…” He stated.

Dr. Ukpong who advised members of the public against the consumption of bush meat and inadequate prepared meat also enjoined the public to practice regular hand washing culture, observe good hygiene, in order to help reduce the spread of the disease in the state.

Speaking further, Dr. Ukpong disclosed that the epidemic which was first reported in Bayelsa state, reached Akwa Ibom on 5th October 2017. Added that persons with suspected cases have been quarantined, and are undergoing close observation at government health facility.

“The news of Monkey Pox outbreak in about 13 people, including a doctor, in Bayelsa reached us on the 4th of October and we immediately activated our Infectious disease control program: calling for information from any health facility with suspicious cases and on October 5, we got information of a suspected case in a general hospital and immediately visited the patient who was already in proper isolation”. Dr. Said.

According to the Health Commissioner, the disease is a viral disease, there is no drug for it, there is no treatment because it is mild. ‘It will go away’. It has no treatment.

Monkey Pox is transmitted through direct contact with the body fluid of an infected person, blood, squirrels, consumption of inadequately cooked meat of animals (Especially bush meat), 2017 respiratory droplets, It can be transmitted by a pregnant mother through the placenta to the baby.

Speaking about the Signs and symptoms of the disease, the commissioner said It has an incubation period of between 6 days and 16 days from the time of exposure to the virus before it starts manifesting in one’s body. Between the first day and third day after contact, the human body would experience rashes, extreme tiredness, swollen limp notes, among other signs.

On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh who was at the press conference urged the media community in the state to use their various news medium in enlightening, educating and informing the public on ways of preventing the spread of the virus.

He reminded that whatever affects the health and wellbeing of the citizenry is capable of affecting the desire of government to drive traffic to the State through tourism.

“We can’t afford to put our people in panic mood. We shouldn’t allow people to be apprehensive”.What ever affects the health and wellbeing of our people, would affect our desire to drive traffic to the State through tourism”.

Also speaking, the NMA Chairman, Dr. Aniekeme Uwah said his association had since put its members on alert over the incident. He urged the press to partner the association in the area of public enlightenment and awareness campaign with a view of preventing the spread of the virus in the state.

NUJ Chairman, Elder Albert thanked the Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for  Information and Strategy for the swift response on the matter. He assured of the readiness of the press to partner with the state government in preventing the spread of the epidemic in the state through effective Publicity.

On this note, Members of the public are enjoined to report any suspected cases of Monkey Pox epidemic to the State Epidemiologist on 09023330092 or the IRT Centre on 08037934966.

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