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Monkeypox: Cases rise to 13 in Bayelsa

The number of patients receiving treatment for the communicable Monkeypox disease in Bayelsa State has risen from 11 to 13.
The state’s Commissioner of Health, Ebitimitula Etebu, disclosed this at a press conference on Friday in Yenagoa, the state capital. He however insisted that there was no cause for alarm as the state had taken steps to curtail further spread of the disease.
Mr. Etebu had on Thursday put the figure of suspected cases at 11 following the outbreak of the disease in Yenagoa.
The 13 patients, including a medical doctor and a 17-year old boy, are being quarantined at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital in Okolobiri, Bayelsa state.
He said health officials had traced more than 50 others who had contact with the quarantined patients and traced and placed them under surveillance.
Mr. Etebu said two of the infected patients earlier isolated have been treated and discharged.
It will be recalled that the first index case was reported two weeks ago at Agbura, a rural settlement near Yenagoa.
Mr. Etebu said the victim had killed and eaten a monkey with members of his household and neigbours who later presented symptoms of monkeypox virus.
He however said that results of the blood samples sent to the World Health Organisation reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for confirmatory tests were still being awaited, adding that only the results would confirm the identity of the virus.
“We, have, taken the usual steps in medical parlance in accordance to international best practices and the tests take some time because they have to culture the virus and allow it to grow sufficiently for it to be identified,” he said.
“That is the process we are taking and once the results are out, the public will be notified about it,” he said.
Also speaking at the news conference, the State Commissioner of Information, Iworiso Markson, said the state government had responded promptly to the health emegengy.
He said the government had since inaugurated a Quick Response Team that is working round the clock to contain the outbreak.
He urged the residents to be calm and report any suspected case with rashes similar to chickenpox to the disease surveillance team on the following toll free numbers: 08066987752 , 08035474676.
Speaking earlier, the Chief Medical Director of NDUTH, Dimie Ogoina, said the state was receiving support from the International community, including the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control.
He said the hospital in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health had created a temporary isolation wards to quarantine suspected cases and assured that the facility had room to accommodate more patients.

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