Facts about monkeypox virus (Educate yourself)

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Recently, Monkeypox virus outbreak occurred in some states in the South East and Eastern part of Nigeria. Lagos State also recently reported a case of the virus. In the Northern part of Nigeria, Zamfara State reported the first case of the virus also. So far, in Ibadan and Oyo State, there have been no report of this virus. That said,we need to educate ourselves on what this virus is, the cause, the symptoms and the treatment of Monkey Pox virus.

What is Monkeypox Virus

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is an orthopoxvirus that causes human monkeypox (MPX), a viral disease with symptoms in humans similar to that seen in smallpox patients. Human monkeypox is regularly reported in villages of Central and West Africa close to tropical rainforest where there is frequent contact with infected animals.

How is the virus transmitted

Monkeypox is usually transmitted to humans from non-human primates, squirrels or other rodents through contact with the infected animal’s blood or through a bite. The virus can spread from human to human by both respiratory (airborne) contact and contact with infected person’s bodily fluids. Risk factors for transmission include sharing a bed, room, or using the same utensils as an infected patient. Increased transmission risk associated with factors involving introduction of virus to the oral mucosa. Incubation period is 10–14 days. Symptoms include swelling of lymph nodes, muscle pain, headache, fever, prior to the emergence of the rash.

Prevention of transmission of virus

Vaccination against smallpox is assumed to provide protection against human monkeypox infection considering they are closely related viruses and the vaccine protects animals from experimental lethal monkeypox challenge. This has not been conclusively demonstrated in humans because routine smallpox vaccination was discontinued following the apparent eradication of smallpox and due to safety concerns with the vaccine.

Smallpox vaccine has been reported to reduce the risk of monkeypox among previously vaccinated persons in Africa. The decrease in immunity to poxviruses in exposed populations is a factor in the prevalence of monkeypox. It is attributed both to waning cross-protective immunity among those vaccinated before 1980 when mass smallpox vaccinations were discontinued, and to the gradually increasing proportion of unvaccinated individuals. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons investigating monkeypox outbreaks and involved in caring for infected individuals or animals should receive a smallpox vaccination to protect against monkeypox. Persons who have had close or intimate contact with individuals or animals confirmed to have monkeypox should also be vaccinated.

Treatment of virus

There is no known treatment of the virus. The people who have been infected can be vaccinated up to 14 days after exposure.

So be informed before the outbreak gets to Oyo state, like 9ice said in his song Health is Wealth

The many health benefits of African Walnut(Awusa, Asala)

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For the younger generation, who may often seek validation from social media while holding the 21st century in their ‘e-palms’, African walnut may be relegated to the bottom of fruit options as some weird looking black fruit, only the old should relish. Ironically, the innumerable health benefits of this seemingly not so trendy and tasty fruit, surpasses all the likes one could ever get on social media.

Two years ago, a duo of teenagers developed a natural cure for halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath. The active ingredient of both their products (gum and mouthwash) was the walnut. That discovery, won Eveshorhema Sophia Samuel-Alli and Ibukunoluwa Ruth Oladeinde of Doregos Private Academy, Ipaja, Lagos, a Life Science Award of $1,000 in the Medicine and Health Science category, courtesy, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society that year.

Enveloped in a thick black wall, the African Walnut, which has a creamy inner colour and a bitter after taste, has been described by experts as a wonder fruit, capable of curing a litany of diseases. The African walnut, locally called (Asala or Awusa in Yoruba; Ukpa in Igbo; and Okhue or Okwe in Edo) belongs to the botanical family Euphorbiaceae and is a highly versatile nut. Asides from its medicine and health uses, it serves a number of other uses such as furniture and dye making.

Last year, a research paper published in the Journal of Global Biosciences, itemized the many benefits of African walnut following the findings from a research work on the fruit titled “Studies on the Phytochemical and Nutritional properties of Tetracarpidium conophorum (black walnut) seeds.”

Based on the findings of researchers, Ojobor Chijioke, Anosike Chioma, both from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Ani Collins of the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, the African walnut contains phytochemicals like alkaloid, saponins, glycoside and reducing sugar in high abundance. The study also showed that contained in the African walnut was also moderate amounts of soluble carbohydrate. However, other phytochemicals such as flavonoid and tannins were observed in trace amounts while hydrogen cyanide and terpenoid were not detected in the walnut samples.

According to the researchers, “phytochemicals are biologically active compounds, which contribute significantly to protection against degenerative diseases.” Flavonoids are known to have protective effects including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants, antiviral, and anti-carcinogenic properties.

“The presence of tannins in the walnut sample suggest that it could be used for healing of haemorrhoids and varicose ulcers in herbal medicine.”

Alkaloids are the most effective plant substance used therapeutically as analgesic, antimicrobial and bacterial properties. “This may probably be the reason walnut is believed to stop asthma (not acute asthma) and also a constipation cure for elderly.”

Also, the findings indicated that the high amount of saponins in the walnut samples points to the fact that walnut has a cytotoxic effect such as permealisation of the intestine. The presence of saponin, which gives the plant its bitter taste, has relationship with sex hormones like oxytocin which is involved in controlling the onset of labour in women and the subsequent release of milk.

While carrying out the vitamin analyses of the fruit, the researchers observed the presence of vitamins A, C and E in appreciable amounts and other vitamins like D, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12, were found in trace amounts. They discussed that the presence of such vitamins in walnut indicates that it can be used in the treatment of skin conditions, including eczema, pruritus, psoriasis and parasitic skin conditions. Also, it can be useful vitamin in the treatment of common cold and prostate cancer. The report also indicates that walnut could be used in treatment of indigestion, constipation and diarrhea. The exceptionally high content of vitamin E in walnut supports its use in Southern Nigeria ethno-medicine as a male fertility agent.

Based on the book, Medicinal Plants of Nigeria- South West Nigeria Volume 1, compiled and published by Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), here are several other reasons why walnuts must be a part of every Nigerian’s diet.

Fertility purposes

In local ethnomedicine, walnuts are used as a male fertility agent; the leaves are used to improve fertility in male and chewing the walnut improves sperm count. Eating around two handfuls of walnuts a day over a period of 12weeks will improve sperm health in young men. Walnut seeds are used to treat uterine fibroids and chewing walnuts helps prevent miscarriage.

For treatment of pain

The leaf juice of the African walnut is considered a headache cure in southern Nigeria and is used to improve and regulate menstrual flow. The leaf juice is drunk to mitigate prolonged and /or constant hiccups.

Cardiovascular benefits

African walnut helps prevent heart disease and is recommended for lowering cholesterol. Walnuts are rich in compounds such as omega 3 essential fatty acids that reduce hardening of the arteries, prevent erratic heart rhythms and keep them flexible. Walnuts also contain relatively high levels of L-arginine, an essential amino acid that is converted into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps to keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax.

Anti ageing benefits

African walnuts contain numerous antioxidants like vitamin E, melatonin, manganese, selenium, ellagic acid and about 16 different polyphenols. All these elements are known to prevent cellular damage; hence they help in the reduction of age-related diseases.

Cancer prevention

African walnuts contain multiple ingredients; omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols that, individually, have been shown to slow cancer growth.

Source: Tribune

UCH commissions first purpose-built molecular diagnostic centre in West Africa

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The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has commissioned its purpose-built molecular diagnostic centre, the first of its kind in West Africa.
Speaking at the ceremony in Ibadan yesterday, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, said the million-naira complex, equipped with six standard size medical laboratories and office spaces, was put in place with support from an octogenarian and indigenous philanthropist, Alhaji Nurudeen Akanji Oluwasola, in response to the clarion call from the hospital for public private partnership (PPP) in the healthcare delivery, to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad.

The CMD said the newly commissioned Special Diagnostic Centre has the capacity for preventive and clinical diagnostic services as well as state-of-the-art research opportunities in Karyotyoping (Sex determination); Molecular oncology (Solid tumour mutation panel); Haemato-oncology (Flow cytometry to evaluate lymphoproliferative diseases); and HPV genotyping (for screening women for risk of cervical cancer).

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