Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki,

•Reps summon health minister

THE Senate has urged the Federal Government to be proactive in containing and preventing the spread of monkey pox disease.

Monkey pox disease is a rare and infectious disease caused by monkey virus, transmitted from animals to human and with symptoms similar to those of smallpox.

The first incident of the disease was reported on September 22 in Bayelsa State and it has also spread to some states.

The Senate said the Federal Government’s measures could be undertaken through state and local governments.

The lawmakers also advocated enlightenment of citizens about measures that could be taken to mitigate risk factors of exposure to the virus.

They called for proper liaison by the Federal Government with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant donor agencies for contingencies against eventualities.

The call followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent need for pro-active steps to nip in the bud reported outbreak of monkey pox disease in Nigeria” by Senator Ali Wakili (APC-Bauchi) at plenary.

Presenting the motion, Wakili said the infection resulted from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids and mucosal lesions of infected animals.

He said similarly, human infections had also been documented through the handling of infected monkeys, rats and squirrels with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus.

Contributing, Senator Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers) said there was need for proactive measures to be put in place to tackle the disease.

The resolutions were adopted by all the lawmakers after a voice vote raised by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

But the House of Representatives yesterday summoned the Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole over the outbreak of the disease.

The minister is to explain to the lawmakers “the alarming situation of how a country as vast and resources as Nigeria will depend on a laboratory in Dakar, Senegal to analyse samples at such a critical time of national health crisis”.

The resolution of the House was sequel to the passage of a motion by a member, Diri Douye, titled: “Suspected outbreak of monkey pox in Bayelsa State – Urgent need for free detail government intervention and international community support.”

The lawmaker said since the disease broke out in Bayelsa, it has spread into other states in the region “notably Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in spite of the concerted efforts of the Bayelsa State Government.”

He expressed shock at the admission of the Minister of Health that “monkey pox could not be confirmed in Nigeria until laboratory investigations by World Health Organisation (WHO) referral laboratory in Dakar, Senegal.”

The House called on the Federal Government to provide financial as well as logistical support to the Bayelsa State Government to reach out to threatened water licked communities.

Also, the House mandated its Committees on Health Services to investigate and report back within two weeks for further legislative action were mandated to investigate.

Ekiti confirms two cases as resident doctors begins strike

Two suspected cases of monkey pox have been recorded in Ekiti State, according to Secretary to the State Government Dr. Dupe Alade

Dr. Alade spoke at a news conference to herald activities marking the third anniversary of the Ayo Fayose administration.

This came as the state chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) embarked on a three-day warning strike to press home their demand for the payment of six months arrears of pay.

Mrs. Alade, in sounding the monkey pox alarm, urged residents to take all necessary precautions, regularly wash their hands and beware of what they eat.

According to her, the suspected victims of the dreaded disease were discovered in Okemesi-Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area. The community is located on the boundary with Osun State.

The SSG explained that the victims have been quarantined and their blood samples taken to Abuja for laboratory tests.

Ekiti ARD, in a statement signed by its President, Dr. Tunji Olaoye, explained that the industrial action became necessary as life has become unbearable for doctors, who are being owed six months.

Panic in Ondo as woman was bitten by monkey

The alleged bitten of an unknown middle-aged woman by monkey in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State was caused anxiety yesterday in the area.

It was learnt that the woman was allegedly ‘chopped’ by a monkey she was feeding last Saturday as her domestic pet.

Sources said the woman was not taken the situation seriously until Sunday evening when she started feeling some pains.

One of the residents around said they had thought it was a whitlow as the spot was developing some blisters.

He said: “When the woman started complaining, her friends and family then advised her to visit a nearby health centre for treatment or minor surgery.

“When she got to the health centre, one of the nurses who attended to her thought it was a whitlow and wanted to operate it but there was no surgical blade in the health facility.

“It was brought to the notice of the matron, who noticed that the affected part was more of a bite than whitlow. The lady now revealed that she was bitten by a monkey, she keeps as pet.”

It was learnt that the matron in charge of the health centre immediately referred the woman to the State Specialist Hospital, Akure, for further treatment.

Commissioner for Health Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, however, said there was no case of monkey pox in the state.

He said residents should remain calm, stressing that the ministry of health had put its surveillance units at alert across the 18 local government areas.

Edo begins 24 hours surveillance

Edo State Government said it has commenced 24 hours surveillance against any possible outbreak of monkey pox.

It said there was no recorded case of the disease.

Director of Disease Control Dr. Irowa Osamwonyi, who spoke in an interview with reporters, said there was nothing to worry about the outbreak of the disease.

Ogun: we have no infection

Ogun State has debunked the presence of cases of monkey pox.

This was against the reports of the National Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, that the state was among the states being affected by the disease.

Commissioner for Health Dr. Babatunde Ipaye spoke at a news briefing in his office in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

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