Monkey pox: People with unexplained rashes should visit medical centres immediately

Mrs Charity Okoye, a Senior Nursing Officer at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital Awka, (COOUTH), Anambra, has advised residents of the state experiencing unusual rashes on their body to urgently seek medical help.

Okoye, who works at the pediatric emergency ward of COOUTH, made the call during a presentation at the Rotary International District 9142 Club of Awka Smith Town fellowship .

The senior health officer, who entitled her presentation “All you need to Know about Monkey Pox,” urged parents to watch their children closely for any dark rashes on their bodies.

She defined Monkey pox as a viral disease caused by monkey pox virus transmitted to human from infected animals, most commonly rodents.

“ It is a disease that can causes flu-like symptoms and rash, it is a viral zootomic disease, a virus transmitted to humans from animal with symptoms in human similar but less severe to those seen in the past in small pox patients ,” she said.

According to her, Anambra is yet to receive any report of Monkey pox case and advised that high level environmental and personal hygiene will keep off the possibility of the virus report in the state and country at large.

Okoye said that its name was given from the species that was initially isolated from and was first identified in humans in 1970 in the democratic of Republic of Congo in a nine-month old boy.

She explained that the disease was mostly found in West African countries, saying Nigeria recorded two human cases in 1971 and 1978.

Okoye added that the virus could also be transmitted from animal to human, human-to human and from contaminated environment to human.

“The virus enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory track or the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth,” she said.

According to her, the signs and symptoms of the monkey pox begin to manifest within 5 to 21 days with infection usually mild to moderate in nature and can be divided into two periods.

Okoye described the two periods to be Invasion period (0-5 days ) with clinical manifestations of fever, intense headache, back pain, “asthenia that is lack of energy, and skin eruption period (1-3 days ) occurs.

She explained that people with monkey pox usually “get a rash that may be located on or near their genitals such as penis, testicles, labia, vagina and anus”.

She said that rashes could also be seen on other areas either like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth which might look like pimples or blisters and might be painful or itchy.

“And it has respiratory symptoms like sore throat, nasal congestion.”

“Some people may experience only rash, others may experience flu like symptoms before rash and it starts within three weeks of exposure to the virus,” she said.

Okoye said that the spread of the virus could be direct contact with monkey pox rash, scabs, or body fluid, touching objects, fabrics and surfaces that had been used by some one with monkey pox.

She said also that contact could get in the form of hugging, massage, kissing, touching infected animal, contact with respiratory secretions , eating infected animal and skin to skin contacts.

Okoye said there was no cure for monkeypox, but some antiviral drugs might be effective in treating the disease.

“ Drugs like tecovirimat may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill of the virus who have weakened immune system.

“ Most people recover finally within two weeks to four weeks without the need for medical treatment because of high immunity level,” she said .

Okoye said that according to Centre for Disease Control, the virus can be prevented by getting vaccinated if exposed to monkey pox or at risk of being exposed to monkey pox .

She said that the CDC suggested people should avoid skin to skin contact with people who had a rash that looked like monkey pox, avoid kiss, hug, cuddle or sex, isolate infected people, practice good hand wash hygiene .

“Also, infected people should either discuss with their partner if they have unexplained rash on either of their bodies, including mouths, genital, or talk to health personnel immediately.”

She advised people to learn to wear face mask if they had flu -like symptoms until monkey pox was ruled out and should continually use alcohol based hand sanitizer.

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