It was learnt that the patients came down with the symptoms and were immediately isolated in a centre that has been created by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the epidemiological team of the state’s Ministry of Health to stop the spread of the disease.
National Daily gathered that the NCDC and the epidemiological team are also tracking 49 other victims, who were said to have come in contact with the infected patients.
However, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, disclosed that his ministry was not sleeping over the outbreak.
He explained that steps have been taken to arrest the epidemic hence they have samples of blood of the victims to the World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for analysis and confirmation.
Prof Etebu said ” Monkey Pox” is a viral disease caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and small pox, adding that the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently had outbreaks in West Africa.
Saying the virus has the Central African and the West African types, the commissioner said the West African type is milder and has no records of mortality.
“Recently in Bayelsa State, we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkey pox. It has not been confirmed.
“We have sent samples to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal.
“When that comes out, we will be sure that it is confirmed. But from all indications, it points towards it,” he said.
On the genesis of the viral, Prof. Etebu said the virus was first seen in monkey. He added that it could also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.
“The source is usually all animals. It was first seen in monkeys and that is why it is called monkey pox. But every bush animals like rats, squirrels, antelopes are involved. So, the secretions from particularly dead animals are highly contagious.”
Symptoms according to the Commissioner, include severe headache, fever and back pain amongst others. He added that other signs were rashes on the body but bigger than those caused by chicken pox.