Nigerians have been warned to shun bush meats to avoid contracting Monkeypox.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ifedayo Adetifa, gave this warning while speaking on Channels Tv on Monday morning.
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He said the greatest threat to health security are zoonotic illnesses which Monkeypox is among.
It should be known that Monkeypox is a pathogen that affects animals but has acquired transmission capacity to humans.
The NCDC in its latest report said the country recorded 558 cases and eight deaths from Monkeypox across 32 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between 2017 and 2022.
Adetifa said: “What happens thereafter if they [pathogens] change in the first few months and become more active in person to person transmission, then we have a problem.
“We are worried about Monkeypox. This is a disease that we don’t yet fully understand, there are no vaccines available at this time and very few actually know established treatment.
“If anything changes about this particular condition, we may have a source of big concern. In general, we should be careful in handling bush meats and the likes.”
He noted that the poor handling of bushmeat is part of the problems we have with Lassa Fever because we are not managing our interactions with rats, moreso, we are not storing our food and other things properly to avoid contamination by these animals.
“In the case of Monkeypox, people interact with bush meats and other animals. We know about monkeys and other bushmeats are involved as well and I think all of them should be handled with care,” he said.
Also, Adetifa said the federal government was still worried about COVID-19 notwithstanding the decrease in the number of cases and deaths, saying any virus that can escape the protective immune responses should be a cause of worry to any government.
The NCDC boss noted that Lassa Fever and Cholera remained a cause of concern for the government as well, adding that the country had recorded more Lassa Fever cases this year when compared to the same period in 2021.
He also said Cholera, which pushed COVID-19 all the way in terms of the number of deaths, should be taken seriously following the arrival of the rainy season.