Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary. PHOTO: TWITTER/ NIGERIAN SENATE
The Senate on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to be pro-active in containing and preventing the spread of Monkey Pox disease already prevalent in parts of the country.
Monkey Pox is a rare and infectious disease caused by monkey virus, transmitted from animals to human and with symptoms similar to those of smallpox.
The first incident of the disease in Nigeria was reported on Sept. 22 in Bayelsa.
The Senate said that the Federal Government’s measures could be undertaken through state and local governments.
The lawmakers also advocated enlightenment of citizens about measures that could be taken to mitigate risk factors of exposure to the virus.
They equally called for proper liaison by the Federal Government with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant donor agencies for contingencies against eventualities.
The call followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent Need for Pro-active Steps to Nip in the Bud Reported Outbreak of Monkey Pox Disease in Nigeria’’ by Sen. Ali Wakili (APC-Bauchi) at plenary.
Presenting the motion, Wakili said that Monkey Pox infection resulted from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids and mucosal lesions of infected animals.
He said that similarly, human infections had also been documented through the handling of infected monkeys, rats and squirrels with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus.
Decrying the spread of the menace, the lawmaker said that there were no specific treatments in the provision or availability of vaccine for it, adding that Nigerians had been thrown into panic since the epidemic began.
“Since there is no vaccine or specific treatment, the only ways to reduce the infection in people is through awareness of risk factors, enlightenment about measures to be taken to reduce exposure to the virus.”
Contributing, Sen. Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers) said there was a need for proactive measures to be put in place in order to tackle the disease.
He said that the measures were necessary because nobody knew when the net disease would happen and how to tackle it.
On his part, Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa) decried the spread of the disease and called for all hands to be on deck to curtail it.
The resolutions were adopted by all the lawmakers after a voice vote raised by President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.