The Bayelsa Government is investigating suspected cases of monkeypox outbreak in its communities.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu said this in Yenagoa on Wednesday following reports that some 11 persons, including a medical doctor, had been placed on surveillance in Yenagoa.
Those with the suspected cases had been quarantined at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) , Okolobiri, Yenagoa Local Government Area.
The centre was established by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the epidemiological team of the state Ministry of Health to control the spread of the virus.
It was also learnt that the NCDC and the epidemiological team were tracing 49 persons, who were in contact with persons suspected to have been infected.
Etebu said that samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Dakar for confirmation.
He described monkeypox as a viral illness caused by a group of viruses that include chickenpox and smallpox.
The commissioner said the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequent outbreaks in West Africa.
According to the World Health Organisation, monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
WHO says, “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,”.