The flooding in some parts of the country has been identified as a leading cause of the monkeypox outbreak ravaging some states in Nigeria.
The Delta State coordinator of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Bassey Bassey, who was represented by Casmir Ifeanyi at a colloquium organised by the Association of Medical Scientists of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday said this.
He said flooding facilitates infectious disease transmission and exposes affected communities to outbreak of epidemics such as cholera and related ailments.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Perennial Flooding in Nigeria: Communicable diseases and looming antimicrobial resistance’, Mr. Bassey said flood water was a major source of infectious communicable disease because animals defecate in floodwater, which humans later come in contact with.
He said until proven otherwise, he believes flooding has a major role in the sudden outbreak of monkeypox and other diseases.
He explained that animals, displaced from their natural habitat gradually gravitate towards human communities.
”For floods that last seven days, expect waterborne diseases and those lasting between one to four weeks, rodent-borne diseases should be expected. A combination of both water and rodent borne diseases should be expected when flooding last more than four weeks”, he said.
This year, the country witnessed flooding across various states that led to an immediate response by the federal government in selected states.
There were also recorded cases of cholera at some of the camps set up for the internally displaced victims.
Speaking on the effect of flooding on disease outbreaks, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC also agreed on a possible link.
The health agency in previous alert messages during the flooding had advised Nigerians on measures to employ in preventing some diseases.
The national coordinator, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who was represented Adedeji Adebayo said ”flood water has become the major source of disease outbreaks especially through contamination with sewage water, human waste, dead bodies of animals, soil pathogens, deadly particles and chemicals.”
He said flood water can also contain disease causing bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Mr. Ihekweazu said since some animals are also treated with antibiotics, ”when humans eat them, they sometimes become antibiotic resistant, which can lead to the spread of infectious diseases.”
Identifying some of the flood-prone area in the country, he said states within the River Benue and Niger belts as well as the coastal areas are highest hits. States like Akwa – Ibom, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross river, Jigawa, Kaduna and Lagos were part of those listed.
Four of the states listed have also been ravaged by suspected cases of monkeypox.
The first suspected case of monkeypox was recorded in Bayelsa, with 74 cases currently been handled in 11 states.
The federal ministry of health and NCDC has advised Nigerians to remain calm as the government doing all it can to contain the spread.