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
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 practice 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.”