By Olayinka Olawale
Lagos – The Lagos State Government says it has begun a surveillance tour of livestock and bush meat markets across the state, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) to prevent outbreak of Monkey pox.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, who made this known in Lagos on Sunday said the surveillance was to test animals for components of Monkey pox.
Lawal spoke while receiving members of the One Health Team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The commissioner said that state officials had been deployed to the field to conduct a surveillance of the Monkey pox virus in livestock markets across the state.
He said that the exercise was aimed at preventing the outbreak of monkey pox disease in the state.
According to the commissioner, monkey pox disease is a trans-boundary viral disease that is common among people that have had contact with wild animals and which typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
“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.
“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, adding that it would do all that was needed to prevent the emergence of the disease in the state.
Lawal said 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.
The commissioner said 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 Lassa virus in small mammals.
He said they would provide epidemiology guidance.
Lawal appreciated members of the One Health Team of the NCDC, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and AFENET, for their unwavering efforts geared toward putting a stop to outbreak of the disease in the state.
He urged people not to panic.
The commissioner, however, 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.