MINISTER of Health Isaac Adewole said yesterday that suspected cases of monkey pox have hit 74 in 11 states.
Adewole spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He was with Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu and Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina.
According to the minister, the 11 states are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa and Rivers.
Stressing that the outbreak was confirmed in Bayelsa, he said of the 19 samples tested, three tested positive and 12 tested negative from Bayelsa and four tested negative from Lagos.
On the rumours in some states, Adewole said the military was not involved in any monkey pox vaccination.
Rumours had spread like wildfire that the military was injecting monkey pox virus into people in their medical outreach across the country.
He explained that the military outreach had never harmed anyone and in some cases involved road construction and other services.
Adewole said: “Council also received an update of the public health of the nation. We informed council about the latest development with respect to the monkey pox virus outbreak. So far, as of today, there are 74 suspected cases in 11 states. We have confirmed three in Bayelsa State. We are still expecting the results of other ones.
“We are also doing advance test in NEDE, that is the African Centre of Excellence for Genomes and Infections Disease, to really understand the genomes of this virus. Even when they are negative, the laboratory attendance should be able to tell us what exactly they are. We will also be able to locate and identify the origin so that we can take adequate precaution.”
On the military vaccination rumours, the minister said: “It is also important to use this opportunity to dispel the rumour circulating in the country that the military is vaccinating people and trying to spread monkey pox across the country. The military is not involved in any vaccination exercise and I must also really educate the Nigerian people about how vaccination campaigns are done.
“Federal will take the lead but we do not conduct campaign without involving states. So, there is no way we will do campaign for vaccination without working with the states.”
“We are doing vaccination campaign against yellow fever in Kwara and Kogi because of yellow fever outbreak in some parts of the country. We are also doing cholera vaccination in Borno State and so anybody carrying the rumour, please help us educate Nigerians that it is not true. We are not vaccinating anybody. We plan to do missiles campaign very soon and we will also do yellow fever before the end of the year and we will let you know.”
On the report of illegal traffickers of kidney, Adewole said: “With respect to the harvest of organs we receive advice periodically from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, from National Security Adviser about goings on around the world. One of which is the harvest of organs illegally and it is our duty to alert Nigerians that this is ongoing. They should be careful, they should seek advice, they should patronise only accredited institution.”
On the growing drug abuse among the youth, Adewole said: “We are quite aware of this. Abuse will take several forms. Abuse of substances that are smuggled into the country in higher doses than normal. For example, we have Metadol and Tramadol and even Viagra being smuggled into the country. Look at the dosage; the Viagra dosage is three times normal and when you look at the Tramadol, it is three to four times normal and once NAFDAC officials come in contact, they are impounded and destroyed.
“We are also working with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) to educate people about the abuses. ”
Stressing that Nigeria is part of the campaign against tobacco, Adewole said the country was implementing the framework convention in tobacco control.