The deadly disease – MonkeyPox – has hit Nigeria, and BattaBox goes in search of the cause.
The MonkeyPox virus is a cousin to smallpox, and although not as deadly, produces fever, rashes, and sometimes can be lethal – killing 1 in 10 of its victims. And there is no cure.
“It’s similar to smallpox but a less dangerous disease. People catch it from direct contact with contaminated meat, infected people, or even bedsheets,” Dr Tobun, a medical officer in Lagos. “The first symptom is usually fever, and then body weakness, pain, and rashes.”
And now MonkeyPox has come to Nigeria. It is suspected of starting in Bayelsa with 3 suspected cases recorded, and fortunately, so far, no deaths have attributed to it in the affected areas. MonkeyPox has spread to 11 states – Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun, Cross River, and even a case recorded in Kano. So far there have been at least a total of 74 recorded infections.
BattaBox headed to a local Lagos market to see if bush meat is still being sold – as infected meat is often a cause for the spread of the virus. Dried Bush meats – or Tinko – is commonly sold in markets across Nigeria, and we found one such dried bush meat seller in Lagos. The Lagos market trader explains hers is only camel and cow meat – it’s tough meat and tastes sweet.
To control MonkeyPox, early detection is essential, with simple things such as only eating well cooked meat, washing hands, and if you are infected, you should be quarantined and everyone you’ve seen recently should be traced as well.
The typical rashes from MonkeyPox are similar to ChickenPox. But, there is no specific treatment for MonkeyPox, but the symptoms from the viral infection can be treated and managed.
MonkeyPox was discovered in 1958 when an outbreak of the pox occured in the colonies of monkeys kept for research. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and since then it has been recorded across Central and West Africa. In 2003 there was an outbreak in the USA and is the only time it has been documented outside of Africa. Yet, still no one knows the reservoir of the virus, although it’s thought to be spread through rodents and rats.
In Nigeria, BattaBox heads to the streets to ask people is they have heard of MonkeyPox and how aware they areof the problem:
“I’ve not heard of it,” explains one woman. “I heard about it on social media but only thought it was one of those exaggerated things.”
“Yes, it is a virus, with rashes, and people who have it should be quarantined,” explains one your Nigerian woman.
Have you heard of MonkeyPox? Are you concerned by its recent spread in Nigeria?