By Hope Nda
The Southwest Regional Delegate of Public Health, Dr Filbert Eko Eko, has called for calm and for people to be cautious and observe social distancing measures after a case of monkey pox was announced on Monday.
He said no death has been recorded and the case has been isolated at the Kumba Regional Hospital Annex where treatment is being administered.
“We are reassuring the population that measures are being taken at all levels to see that we contain the pathology and to reduce its spread,” he said in an interview with Buea-based journalists.
He added that a team of public health officials has been dispatched to Mbonge, Kumba I and Kumba II health districts, where the outbreak occurred, to retrace the origin of the virus and check the possibility of cases in other health areas. They are also disinfecting areas where the case was found.
The Delegation of Public Health says it is also tackling the outbreak by creating awareness among the population about the prevalence of the disease.
“We have started with the most important: awareness creation – to call the population, the community to know that this problem exists but, again, there is no panic. They shouldn’t panic. It’s something that is controllable,” Dr Eko Eko said.
Information on the monkey pox outbreak was first publicised on Monday, October 10, in a communiqué Dr Eko Eko dispatched to the heads of the Kumba and Mbonge Health Districts.
The outbreak was announced after the Centre Pasteur laboratory in Yaounde conducted tests on two samples taken from the cases. Only one of the samples tested positive, he said.
Monkey pox is a viral skin infection caused by the monkey pox virus. It manifests through rashes on the body that may last for up to four weeks.
“The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy,” stated the American Centre for Disease Control, CDC.
Common symptoms of monkey pox also include fever, chills, swollen nymph nodes, headache, muscle aches and backache, exhaustion and respiratory symptoms like cough and sore throat.
Health experts say its symptoms start manifesting within three weeks of exposure to the virus and the illness typically lasts two to four weeks. Human transmission of the virus is through close contact with infected persons, animals or materials contaminated with the virus.