Tag Archives: Health

Monkeypox patient commits suicide as test confirms three positive cases

Monkey pox patient commits suicide

Posted By: Mike Odiegwu, Yenagoa and Vincent Ikuomola

•Three cases confirmed
•Four Lagos cases negative

A victim of monkey pox receiving treatment at the Niger Delta University Hospital (UNDTH), Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, has committed suicide.

It was gathered that the victim, whose name was not disclosed, hung himself early yesterday.

The state government confirmed the development at a joint press conference by commissioners for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson and Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, with the Chief Medical Director, NDUTH, Prof. Dimie Ogoina and other senior health officials.

Etebu said that the deceased was among the 21 suspected cases of “monkey pox” being managed at the NDUTH.

He regretted that the patient took his own life despite speedily recovering from the disease.

Etebu said the patient’s medical history did not suggest any mental illness or depression.

He maintained that the patient did not die of monkey pox.

Etebu said the police and his family had been contacted and all due diligence was being followed for his funeral.

He sympathised with the family and said that a committee would evaluate his past and recent clinical and social history.

The examination will determine “if there were undisclosed mental illness or personal family problem that could have justified the suicide”.

Iworiso-Markson urged residents to continue to use preventive measures, such as avoiding bushmeats and other causes of the disease.

The Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said the death had been reported.

He, however, said the police were not suspecting any foul play, noting that there were no visible marks of violence other than the rope the patient tied around his neck.

Three cases of monkey pox have been confirmed after laboratory analysis.

The cases are all in Bayelsa State where the outbreak was first reported in September.

Briefing reporters yesterday in Abuja on the outcome of the tests from the World Health Organisation (WHO) reference laboratory in Senegal, Health Minister Prof. Isaac Adewole said only three of the 21 were confirmed positive; 12 were negative.

Results of two others were being awaited.

On the suspected outbreak in Lagos, the minister said the four cases turned out negative.

The minister also noted that further investigations would be carried out on the cases that came out negative to confirm what the ailment is.

He said: “As at 13th of October 2017, there were 17 suspected cases reported from Yenagoa Local Government in Bayelsa State. We have received laboratory confirmation for monkey pox virus from three of these cases from the WHO Regional Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal. Samples from 12 other cases from Bayelsa were negative.

“With these results, three suspected monkey pox cases in Yenagoa have been confirmed with laboratory evidence. The most likely source of infection is a primary zoonotic transmission, from an animal, with secondary person-to-person transmission.

“Since our initial announcement, a total of 43 other suspected cases have been reported from eight other states (Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ekiti, Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa, Rivers, and FCT).

“Of these, four cases from Lagos have also been tested and confirmed to be negative for the monkey pox virus.”

The minister also posited that other cases from other parts of the country might not be caused by monkey pox.

Adewole said: “We expect that many of these cases being reported from other states in Nigeria are not caused by the Monkey pox virus, but we will continue to investigate all those cases that fit the case definition.”

He added: “Further laboratory tests using whole genome sequencing are being carried out by the Africa Centre for Genomics and Infectious Diseases in Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State.”

Adewole also reassured Nigerians that there was no reason to panic as the West African strain of the monkey pox virus is milder, compared to that of East Africa.

This, he said, explained why there has not been any casualty.

The minister stressed: “Monkey pox is largely a self-limiting disease, from which all suspected patients that have been reported to date are doing well clinically. Even before this confirmation, all the necessary public health measures have been put in place and will continue to be implemented.”

On the symptoms, Adewole said: “The monkey pox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Monkey pox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) and the incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkey pox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.

“Specifically, it begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion

Within one-three days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often begin on the face, then spread to other parts of the body.”

The minister urged Nigerians “to remain calm and supportive of public health authorities, avoid self-medication and report to the nearest health facility if feeling unwell or notice any of the above symptoms in anyone around you. It is important to note that there has been no confirmation of monkey pox in any other part of the country, and it is likely that many of the other cases being reported are not caused by the monkey pox virus. Nigerians should continue to be vigilant at all times.

“Health care workers are strongly advised to always practise universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times. They are also urged to be alert, be familiar with the symptoms of monkey pox and maintain a high index of suspicion. All suspected cases should be immediately reported to the local government area or state Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.”

Source: The Nation


All you need to know about Tequila

All you need to know about Tequila

Tequila is a regionally-specific distilled beverage and type of alcoholic drink made from the blue agave plant. It originated from areas surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco.

Tequila is commonly served neat in Mexico and as a shot with salt and lime across the rest of the world and contains alcohol most often made at a 38% alcohol content for domestic consumption but can be produced with between 31 and 55% alcohol content. According to a liquor connoisseur, Martty Feone, the volume of Tequila you consume “depends on how drunk you want to get. It takes one hour for one unit of alcohol to leave your system.

There is one unit of alcohol in a single shot, two in a double. So, if you don’t want to get drunk, wait one hour for a single, two if it’s a double. If you do want to get drunk then it doesn’t matter. If you want to get a little drunk, the spacing doesn’t matter too much, it’s the amount you drink that matters.”

With the details laid out as such, there are symptoms when one has overindulged in Tequila. Whether it is rum, vodka or whiskey, everyone has their drink of choice. Whatever it may be, just know tequila comes with some fine print rules. It is important to understand and recognise the dangers before picking up that bottle of tequila and then going out to the clubs or that fraternity party. Here’s a few reasons to take caution:

It will make you want to fight anybody and everybody
9-10 chance you will end up in a stranger’s bed
You won’t have to worry about all those secrets you were going to keep because they’d be out of your mouth.
You will feel invincible; you are not and you cannot handle 10 shots in half a day.
T he next morning will be the worst you’ve ever had
B e ready to throw up because you will in inappropriate places
You might make out with your best friend
Money will have no meaning whatsoever and your bank account will suffer
Don’t expect to remember anything
There is always danger when tequila is involved. It is not a drink for the faint-hearted or those who fear death. It might be your last night drinking. Give or take, the drinking binge involving Tagbo must have lasted for about five hours or a little longer as the deceased’s body was said to have been dumped at past 3am.

If late Tagbo had consumed 40 shots as the bar tender and the police claim, it means he didn’t even space the downing of each shot by 10 minutes although the police didn’t give account of how many shots other young men at the Shisha room consumed.

But with Tequila, it’s not all bad news after all as there are also some nutrient properties: Calories: 194 kkal, Sodium: 1 mg, Potassium: 2 mg, Fat : 0%, Carbohydrates: 0% and Proteins: 0%. A report published on ww.drhealthbenefits.com also revealed that moderate consumption of tequila is a health booster as the benefits read: “Aiding digestion, cures obesity, heals insomnia, prevents depression, prevents diabetes (especially type 2), prevents dementia among other health benefits.”
Courtesy New Telegraph

Health benefits of hand washing

Health benefits of hand washing
By Paul Adunwoke

As Sunday marks global Hand Washing Day, the exercise has been described as an easy, effective, and affordable protection against infections. It is said to save lives, especially when it is performed with soap. People can protect themselves, their families, and communities through this method. And it requires just two items: soap and a small amount of water. But the benefits are huge.

When hands are washed with soap regularly, and at such crucial times as, after using the toilet or before contact with food, it can greatly reduce the risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia, which can cause serious illness and death. It can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by 30 to 50 per cent. Regular hand wash with soap also helps to prevent spread of such other infections as influenza and Ebola.

The first global Hand Washing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since then, community and national leaders have used the occasion to spread the word about hand-washing, building of sinks and tippy taps, as well as demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands.

The global Hand Washing Day is endorsed by a large number of governments, international institutions, and civil society organisations, non-Governmental organisations (NGOs), private companies and individuals.However, health experts have noted that the reason many don’t wash their hands properly and regularly is due to lack of awareness and consciousness of its immense benefits.

Former President, Association of Resident Doctors in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and Chairman Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State chapter, Dr. Omojowolo Olubunmi, explained that regular and proper hand washing is perhaps the most important and effective public health means of preventing the spread of diseases.

He added that many communicable diseases, such as cholera and other diarrhoeal disease, typhoid fever and poliomyelitis, among others, are transmitted via the faeco-oral route. Regularly washing the hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations.

He said: “If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol can be used. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitisers are not as effective as proper hand washing.

“Generally, the act of hand washing is low among Nigerians, and even healthcare personnel. Only about 30 to 40 percent of Nigerians wash their hands regularly, though this may increase to about 60 percent shortly before eating.

“The situation, where hand washing is very essential include, but not limited to before, during and after preparing food, before eating food, before and after caring to someone who is sick, before and after treating a cut or wound, after using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child, who has used the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, after handling pet food or pet treats and after touching garbage.

“Proper hand washing, as recommended by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, include the following steps: Wet your hands with running water and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make lather. Scrub well for at least 20 seconds. Pay special attention to your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Rinse your hands well under running water. Use a clean towel to dry your hands, or air-dry your hands.”

Consultant Family Physician with Cedar Group Hospital, Festac Town Lagos, Dr. Chukwuma Ogunbor, said washing hands with soap is very important in preventing diarrhoea and other diseases, especially those with faeco-oral (from faeces to mouth) mode of transmission.

Ogunbor stated that when hands are properly washed with soap, under running water and by vigorously rubbing hands together, pathogens that cause diseases are mechanically removed and contaminating flora inhabiting the hands are chemically killed.

He said in the 2015 UNICEF report, about 750, 000 children in Nigeria die before their fifth birthday. The diseases implicated include those that can be prevented by hand washing. These include diarrhoea, which is the second most common cause of death in this age group. Other diseases that can be prevented by proper hand wash include common cold, conjunctivitis, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and pinworm infection. All these underscore the importance of hand washing in maintaining good hygiene, health and wellbeing.

Ogunbor said: “It is important to note that washing hands with soap is not the only means of preventing diarrhoea. Access to clean and potable water, good sanitation, adequate nutrition and vaccination with rotavirus vaccine are also proven ways of averting sickness and deaths due to diarrhoea. Thus, while the public play its role by ensuring good hygienic practices, government at all levels must continue to ensure adequate and clean public water supply, strengthen the immunisation programme, especially by keeping to national plan of introducing Rotavirus vaccine into the routine immunisation schedule in 2018.

Proper hand washing could reduce up to 30 percent episodes of diarrhoea and a little less proportion of respiratory tract infections. However, despite various awareness and sensitisation programmes, many Nigerians don’t wash their hands appropriately, and frequently. The reasons for this is complex and include lack of access to clean water and soap, cultural practices, religious beliefs, unawareness of its benefits and lackadaisical nature to issues of good hygiene. Most people only wash their hands before eating and in the customarily improper way of jointly dipping their hands in a bowl of water.

“This hand washing approach of joint dipping of hands in a bowl can transfer, rather than prevent diseases. The best way to wash your hand is by applying soap, vigorously rubbing both hands and washing the soap off under running water.

“It is sad to note that after Ebola virus disappeared from Nigeria, most of the water sinks and soap placed at public places, such as schools and offices, have also disappeared or left unattended. What is required is a positive attitudinal change towards good hygienic practices and realisation that just as in the days of Ebola virus disease, hand washing can still prevent many deadly diseases.”

With about 10 percent of deaths in under-five Nigerian children linked to diarrhoea, according to the same 2015 UNICEF report, about 75, 000 Nigerian children die annually due to diarrhoea, which translates to more than 200 children dying daily due to same disease. This is as tragic as one local airline, filled with children, crashing every day in Nigeria, without a survivor, when about 30 percent of these children can be saved by proper hand washing with soap.”

Source; Guardian Newspapers.

The return of monkey pox, ailment that has no cure, 39 years after

The return of monkey pox, ailment that has no cure, 39 years after

By Sola Ogundipe

The current suspected monkey pox outbreak in Nigeria, which has now spread to seven states, is the third in the nation’s history. There were a total of three recorded human cases previously in 1971 and 1978 according to the Centres for Disease Control, CDC
The virus was first isolated from colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkey pox.”

The first recorded human case of monkey pox was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. There were also reports of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The following year, 1971, there was one case in Cote d’Ivoire and two cases in Nigeria. Then in 1976 there were two cases in Cameroon and again in Nigeria, in 1978, one case was recorded. Since then, monkey pox has remained strictly a disease of Central and Western African countries, except in 2003, when 47 cases were reported in the US.

The 2003 US outbreak is the only time monkey pox infections in humans were documented outside of Africa. Most of those affected had close contact with pet prairie dogs believed to have had contact with animals that were imported.

The current outbreak in Nigeria is of West African origin and associated with milder disease, fewer deaths, and limited human-to-human transmission. Studies have shown that the monkey pox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.

A professor of virology and former President, Nigeria Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori, described as a shame Nigeria’s inability to diagnose monkey pox.

Tomori, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard from the US, remarked: “It is indeed a shame for us in this country that, nearly 60 years after our so called independence, we are still unable to confirm a case of most diseases without sending our samples to laboratories overseas.

“And which overseas, are we talking about. Senegal! Just imagine. And there was a time when our laboratory system was able to confirm many of these diseases, now, none of these diseases are we able to confirm.

“We do not have appropriate and well equipped laboratory facilities to definitely confirm suspected cases. Samples have been sent to Dakar and plans are being made to send additional samples to the smallpox laboratories of the WHO Collaborating Center for Smallpox and other Poxvirus Infections at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta”.


Monkey pox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkey pox virus, that belongs to the same family of viruses that includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

The natural reservoir remains unknown. However, African rodent species are expected to play a role in transmission.

The monkey pox virus can cause an illness with a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling. In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10 per cent of infected cases.

There is no specific medicine to treat the disease, but intensive supportive care helps patients to recover fully.

Confirmation of suspected cases

We do not have appropriate and well equipped laboratory facilities to definitely confirm suspected cases. Samples have been sent to Dakar and plans are being made to send additional samples to the smallpox laboratories of the WHO Collaborating Center for Smallpox and other Poxvirus Infections at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Rapid spread

I think it is too early to say that we are having a rapid spread of the disease as we do not have laboratory confirmation of the reported cases from different states. However, this is not to say that the disease cannot be spread easily, especially from an infected person.

Largest outbreak

The largest outbreak ever reported in Africa was the 1996 DR Congo outbreak, with more than 70 cases. The outbreak lasted for a period of one year. During the outbreak, there was a significant association of human contacts with squirrel (trapping, preparing raw meat for cooking) and human-to-human transmission through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected persons.

In Africa, there are reports of human infections associated with handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats and squirrels, with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.

Cause for concern

There is definitely a danger and cause for concern, as between 1- 10 percent of people infected with monkeypox may die, most deaths occurring in younger age groups. However, we need to confirm the cases before we think of declaring a national emergency. If we have to declare an emergency at all, it is to declare emergency for the poor state of national health. Otherwise, we will be declaring emergencies for every outbreak. And we have many in our country- Lassa, Meningitis and pardon me, and the most severe and devastating disease – corruption.

There is no cure

In as much as the government has taken appropriate steps and measures – alerting citizens, calling for calm, sending samples for laboratory testing, contacting international agencies for assistance- our national response is adequate. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease, although it is known that people who have received smallpox vaccine suffer a mild form of the disease. But remember smallpox vaccination was stopped in the 1980s, so should people born after that time contract the disease, they are likely to suffer a severe form.

What to do to prevent infection

First is to prevent transmission from animal to man through contact with any of the animals listed as natural hosts of the virus – monkeys, rodents, rats, squirrels etc. Those handling sick animals, raw or infected tissues, must wear gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. We must thoroughly cook all animal products (blood, meat) before eating.

During a monkey pox outbreak, we must avoid close and direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected person. Since there is neither a vaccine nor a specific treatment for the disease, you need to raise awareness of the risk factors and educate people about the measures that must be taken to reduce exposure to the virus.

Also upgrade our surveillance for the disease to rapidly identify new cases and isolate them. We must implement standard infection control in our health facilities, while providing our health workers with gloves and protective equipment when taking care of ill people.

We cannot over stress the need for regular hand washing, especially after caring for or visiting sick people. Finally, we must keep our environment clean and free from invasion by rats and rodents.

Source: Vanguard

Two cases of monkeypox recorded in Lagos, victims quarantined

Two cases of monkeypox recorded in Lagos, victims quarantined

The Lagos State Government confirmed that it has recorded two suspected cases and appealed to residents to remain calm and vigilant.

Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris told reporters that the two suspected cases were currently being investigated.

“Though no confirmed case has been recorded, there is need to sensitise members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the policy of the State government,” he said.

Idris said the two suspected cases were recorded in a private hospital which he did not disclose. He added that one of the suspected case just came from Bayelsa State and ate bush meat.

Idris said the two suspected cases had been quarantined in their various houses pending the result of the investigation.

The commissioner said in the wake of this outbreak, the state government is reiterating the need for members of the public to observe and maintain a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread to the State.

He urged members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the nearest public health facility or the Directorate of Disease Control in the State Ministry of Health.

“Also, health workers are advised to practice universal safety precautions in the management of suspected or confirmed cases, wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when attending to cases, wash hands after each contact with patient or contaminated materials while surveillance system must be strengthened.

“The state government has mobilised the Disease Surveillance Officers in the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in the state and health workers in both public and private health facilities have been placed on high alert,” Idris said.

Idris called on residents of the State to remain calm and go about their businesses without fear as the government had put in place adequate measures to effectively prevent and control the spread of the infection to the State.

“In case of any suspected case of Monkey Pox, the Lagos State Ministry of Health should be notified through the following mobile lines: 08037170614, 09087106072,” he said

Why you should have Honey at home

Why you should have Honey at home

Posted By: Jennifer Joseph 
Honey has been known throughout history as “Liquid Gold,” a natural sweetener that is not just delicious but provides many therapeutic benefits. Although it is a versatile cooking ingredient, honey could also offer some health benefits.
If you’ve not been taking full advantage of the nutritional and medicinal properties of honey, you need to do so!.

You are, therefore, advised to get a bottle of honey stored up in your room somewhere, today because it has lots of amazing benefits you never knew!
Honey Reduces Cough!
Honey may prove to be a lifesaver during this cold season. According to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers tested a single nighttime dose of buckwheat honey against a common cough suppressant and no treatment at all in more than 100 children with colds. Overall, parents found that the honey was better than the other two approaches for relieving cough symptoms and improving sleep.
No wonder the World Health Organization lists honey as a potential demulcent, a sugary liquid that coats the throat and soothes irritation. A 2007 study by Penn State College of Medicine suggested that it reduced nighttime coughing and improved sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection better than the cough medicine dextromethorphan or no treatment.
      2. Honey heals wounds!
Shocking, isn’t it? Applying honey to the skin has been used to heal wounds and burns since ancient Egypt, and is still being used today.
In-depth research studies on honey and wound care were evaluated and the review found that it is most effective at healing partial thickness burns and wounds that have become infected after surgery.
It is also an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, which are very serious complications and can lead to amputation.
One study reported a 43.3% success rate with honey as a wound treatment. In another study, topical honey healed a whopping 97% of patients being treated for their diabetic ulcers.
Similarly, researchers believe that its healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to nourish the surrounding tissue.
    3. Honey Boosts Memory!
We are what we eat and hence it is very important to consume foods that help make our mental health strong to sustain in old age. One of its numerous health benefits includes its ability in boosting memory and concentration.
Honey not only increases brain power and memory but also makes you a healthier person altogether. Consumption of honey prevents metabolic stress and helps calm and soothes the brain, which helps in augmenting memory in the long run. The natural antioxidants and therapeutic properties in honey help in boosting brains’ cholinergic system and circulation and receding cells that cause memory loss.
     4. Honey helps digestion!
Honey helps reduce constipation, bloating and gas, thanks to it being a mild laxative. Honey is also rich in probiotic or “friendly” bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, which aid in digestion, promote the health of the immune system, and reduce allergies.
Using it in place of table sugar has been found to reduce the toxic effects in the gut of mycotoxins produced by fungi.
5.   Honey Cures Acne!
Honey is a popular home remedy for acne. It’s often combined with other natural ingredients such as cinnamon,

nutmeg, lemon, and avocado to make acne face masks.
There are a lot of anecdotal reports from people who have successfully used honey in the treatment of acne, but actual scientific studies that examine its effectiveness when used on acne patients are currently lacking.
However, we do know that this natural ingredient has antibacterial activity, and studies have shown that it can kill a wide range of bacteria. This is currently thought to be a result of the hydrogen peroxide that is present in the honey and a protein called bee-defensin-1 which is added to the nectar when it’s in the bee’s stomach.
Studies have shown that it is capable of killing the acne-causing bacteria. Due to its high level of antibacterial activity, using honey for acne treatment has become popular in the natural skin care community.
Honey also has anti-inflammatory properties which could be useful in the treatment of an inflammatory condition like acne.
The health benefits of Honey are endless and amazing, new research and studies keep coming up with more benefits of Honey!
Do well to get yourself a bottle of honey today.

How monkey pox started in Bayelsa community – investigation

How monkey pox started in Bayelsa community – investigation

Posted By: Mike Odiegwu

Residents of Agbura community in Ogbia Local Government Area where the suspected Monkey Pox epidemic started were not bothered about the disease, investigations showed yesterday.

It was also gathered contrary to insinuations the index case of the epidemic came down with the disease after consuming monkey, the teenager only had constant contact with a monkey, which he played with it as a pet.

When our correspondent visited the community, which is not far from Otuoke, the community of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the locals were seen going about their normal activities.

A commercial motorcyclist claimed he had never heard about the epidemic and directed our correspondent to speak to another resident, who identified himself simply as Nathan.

But Nathan said there was nothing serious about the monkey pox in the riverine community, adding the family of the index case resides on Unity Street around the area.

“We only heard that one family from the eastern part of the country travelled home where they are they ate monkey so when they came back to our community, some of them came down with the sickness,” he said.

At unity Street, our correspondent observed people around the area were going about their activities without fear.

Contrary to reports, neighbours had not relocated from the street.

A neighbour, who spoke in confidence, said only an 11-year-old boy and his six years old younger brother came down with symptoms of the epidemic.

He stated the case of the younger brother was not as severe as his elder brother.

Apart from the two victims, nobody living with them had come down with the sickness, the neigbour hinted.

He said parents of the victims had not shown signs of the epidemic, adding their mother owned a restaurant somewhere in Yenagoa, the state capital.

On how the victims could have contracted the suspected virus, he said: “We don’t really know. But all I can tell you is that one of the neighbours with a shop had a monkey.

“The victims used to play with the monkey. The monkey was like their pet. The monkey used to lick their bodies and climbed on them. That was all we know before their sickness occurred”.

It was gathered the victims were later taken away by health experts to the University Teaching Hospital Okolobiri where they were treated and brought back home.

The victims were reportedly asked to remain indoors, pending total recuperation.

The source said: “When the health experts came they asked our neighbour to take the monkey away. We don’t know where the monkey was taken to.

“But the experts have been coming around to check the health statuses of some people around here.

“They said they would soon carry out a general medical examination of everybody. But we don’t think it is anything serious”.

Bayelsa State Government has established a 12-member rapid response team consisting of top medical professionals and public health experts to check possible spread of the monkey pox.

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebimitula Etebu, who set up the committee, reassured the epidemic was under control adding that there was not need to panic.

Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said government had embarked on practical steps to ensure the disease was prevented from spreading.
Source: The Nation