Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) have commenced a surveillance tour of livestock and bush meat markets across the state to test animals for components of monkey pox.
Prince Gbolahan Lawal, Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, who stated this when he received in audience members of the One Health Team of the National Center for Disease Control, stressed that the exercise is aimed at preventing the outbreak of monkey pox disease in the State.
Lawal explained that the monkey pox disease is a trans- boundary viral disease that is common among people that have had contact with wild animals and which typically present clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
According to him, “Small pox is also a viral zoonotic disease caused by the monkey pox virus and it occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and it is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, although human to human transmission also occurs, usually by contact with an infected person’s body fluid, lesions, respiratory droplets as well as contaminated materials such as beddings,” he said.
The Commissioner reiterated the commitment of the state government to ensuring the safety of lives of Lagosians hence it would do all that needed to be done to prevent the emergence of the disease in the state. He pointed out that officials of the ministry of agriculture alongside representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Center for Disease Control and African Field Epidemiology Network have been deployed to the field to conduct a surveillance of the monkey pox virus in livestock markets across the State.
Lawal added that relevant organ and tissue samples would be collected from these animals under strict biosafety standard protocols which would then be appropriately stored at the required temperature before being transported to the laboratory for diagnostic testing. Speaking further he noted that the animal component surveillance teams, while testing the animals for the presence of the monkey pox virus, would also test for other zoonotic viruses like the Lassa virus in small mammals and would as well provide epidemiology guidance.
He appreciated members of the One Health team of the NCDC, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and AFENET for their unwavering efforts geared towards putting a stop to the outbreak of the disease in the State. He, however, urged the populace not to panic but called for precautionary measures such as maintaining a high level of hygiene and reporting of any suspected cases of monkey pox to the appropriate authorities.