Monkey pox is a disease first discovered in 1958 among the monkeys. The first human case was discovered in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo while on the quest to eliminate smallpox.
There was notification of suspected monkey pox outbreak on the 22nd September 2017 in Balyelsa State, Nigeria, after that other suspected cases have been reported from six more states namely Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers. This is the nation’s third history of the disease, previously 1971 and 1978 according to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).
It is a rare viral zoonotic disease caused by monkey pox virus which is an Orthopoxvirus, a genus of the family Poxviridae found mainly in tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa. It belongs to the same family of viruses of variola (smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox. The symptoms are similar to those seen in smallpox, but much less severe and with a low fatality rate.

Transmission is via contact with infected animal, human, or contaminated materials, and also from person to person.
The incubation period (period between infection and manifestation of the disease) is 10-14 days.
The signs and symptoms are fever, headache, body pain, malaise, swelling of the lymph nodes, sore throat, generalized vesicular skin rashes affecting the face, upper and lower extremities appear later. The rashes may last between two to four weeks.

Monkey pox is a self limiting which means patients tend to recover with time. Supportive care and management of the condition is required and mostly successful. There is no specific medicine to treat the disease, but those who have received smallpox vaccine after a mild form of the disease. ‘Remember that small pox vaccination was stopped in the 1980s’.

The control measures include isolation of suspected or confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions (hand washing with soap and water, use of personal protective equipment).
•    Prevent transmission from animals to man through contact with the listed natural hosts of the virus (monkeys, rodents, rats, squirrels).
•    Those handling sick animals, raw or infected tissues must wear gloves and other appropriate clothing.
•    Must thoroughly cook all animal products before eating.
•    Avoid close and direct contact with blood, body fluids, cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected person.
•    Raise awareness of risk factors among the community and educate people on how to reduce exposure to the virus.
•    Regular hand washing especially after caring for or visiting sick people. Hand washing with soap is a ‘do-it-yourself vaccine’ that prevents infections and save lives.
•    Keep our environment clean and free from invasion by rats and rodents.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that persons investigating monkey pox outbreaks, caring for infected individuals or animals, those with close or intimate contact with confirmed cases should receive smallpox vaccination. The people who have been infected can be vaccinated up to 14 days after exposure.


Thank you
Dr O.O.Okereke
Acting Director, University Medical Centre.

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