Nigerians have been asked to avoid eating monkeys following the outbreak of the infectious monkeypox disease in the Bayelsa state.
Local media reported that health authorities in the West African nation have warned citizens that eating monkey could expose them to contracting the disease.
Nigeria’s Bayelsa State has been hit by the suspected monkeypox outbreak with at least 10 people reported to have been quarantined to prevent further spread.
The Punch reported that those quarantined include a medical doctor and are in an isolation at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital.
Health Minister Isaac Adewole said in a statement that investigations into the outbreak are still ongoing. He called for calm among citizens saying “the virus was mild and there was no known treatment and no preventive vaccines hence the public should be at alert and avoid crowded places as much as possible.”
49 other people who came into contact with those thought to be infected are also being tracked and monitored.
The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu is reported by the Punch to have confirmed the outbreak and further added that samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for confirmation.
Monkeypox, a viral illness is caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and smallpox, according to health officials.
The first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and there have been subsequent outbreaks in West African region.
According to the WHO, the monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.