There is fear and apprehension in Akwa Ibom State as the dreaded Monkey Pox disease hits Uyo.

The state government announced the outbreak of the disease in the state over the weekend, making it the third state in the Niger Delta region, following earlier reports of outbreak in Bayelsa and Rivers states.

This came as the Federal Government described as fake and sinister the report that the outbreak of Monkey Pox in some parts of the country resulted from the alleged free medical care by the government in the affected areas.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, while disclosing the outbreak during an interview with newsmen in Uyo, said one case has already been confirmed and that the victim had been isolated.

According to him, two other suspected cases were being monitored by medical personnel, explaining that “the viral ailment is borne by wild animals, especially Monkeys, and can be contacted through bodily contact with infected persons.

Dr. Ukpong, while warning residents of Uyo to eschew bush meats, also advised the people to take precautionary measures by imbibing personal hygiene such as hand-washing, avoiding indiscriminate handshake and physical contacts.

A resident and medical personnel in the metropolis, who craved anonymity, expressed worry over the outbreak of the disease, saying that government should wake up to arrest the situation by ensuring urgent intervention in all aspects of healthcare delivery. She said if urgent measures are taken, the outbreak can be controlled.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, has also corroborated his Health counterpart by warning the residents to avoid crowded places, as relevant agencies have been alerted to put adequate medical measures in place to deal with emergencies.

He said: “We have recorded one confirmed case of Monkey Pox, while two other cases are still under investigation. The good news is that all these cases have been quarantined.

“Again, the blood samples of quarantined suspected cases have been sent for confirmation. Confirmation requires the highest level of laboratory sample test which is not available in the state.”

“However, there is no cause for panic because the era of hand sanitisers are here and there is nothing for anybody to panic. People should wash their hands regularly, maintain the highest sanitary condition as well as avoid eating bush meats.”

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