The Federal Government has denied reports that its free medical services in Bayelsa and Rivers States caused the recent outbreak of Monkey Pox in the states.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement on Sunday in Abuja described the news as fake and sinister while urging Nigerians to disregard the report.
”The Federal Government has not conducted any free medical service or care in either Bayelsa or Rivers State, as alleged in the fake report being circulated. So that could not have been the cause of the outbreak of Monkey Pox in both states.
“Monkey Pox is a virus found only in monkeys and it is rare in human beings. It belongs to the same family as Chicken Pox and Smallpox.
”It is suspected that someone may have contracted it by eating monkey meat, thus triggering the current outbreak,” the minister said.
He said no effort will be spared in curtailing the spread of the disease.
With the confirmation of a new case of monkeypox in Akwa Ibom State, there are now 13 cases of the disease in the country.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday, confirmed 12 cases, which started with that of an 11-year-old male patient reported at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of NCDC Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said 11 other cases were identified.
“All the cases are currently receiving appropriate medical care. All the patients are improving clinically and there have been no deaths. As at first of this month, 32 close contacts of the cases were identified, advised appropriately and are being monitored,” he said
Ihekweazu explained that a Rapid Response Team (RRT) from NCDC was immediately deployed to support the Bayelsa State Government in the investigations and public health response to the outbreak.
The team has been supporting the Bayelsa State Department of Public Health and the State Epidemiologist to respond to the outbreak. “As the outbreak investigation and response continues, the Bayelsa State Government has started an aggressive public enlightenment campaign to advise clinicians and the public on the symptoms of the disease and the steps required to manage the cases and to prevent further spread. NCDC has also collected appropriate clinical samples from the cases and these are being analysed through the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja,” Ihekweazu explained.