The Federal Government at the weekend called on Nigerians to adhere to all precautionary measures against an outbreak of Ebola in order to prevent the outbreak, in the country.
In a statement, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO), has already classified Nigeria and other countries in the Africa region to be at moderate risk of spreading the deadly disease.
It would be recalled that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) confirmed an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro, Congo. Between April 4 and May 5, 2018, 19 suspected Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (VHF) cases and 16 deaths had been reported, according to a report by the World Health Organisation. Of the five samples tested, two were positive to Ebola virus disease (EVD).
The statement reads: “The World Health Organisation has classified Nigeria and other countries in the African region to be at moderate risk of spread. To prevent an outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control presents this public health advisory to the general public.
” Ebola Virus Disease is a rare disease that can lead to death mostly affecting human and non-human primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It is caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species, four of which can cause disease in humans.
“The virus can be transmitted via direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD. The virus can get in through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also be spread through contact with objects contaminated by infected persons as well as direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or primates”.
The NCDC added that when infected, a person with Ebola may present with symptoms such as sudden high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. A distinct symptom of Ebola and other VHFs is unexplained bleeding from body openings. The symptoms may appear 2 to 21 days after exposure to an infection.
The NCDC, however, said it is currently coordinating a national working group that is assessing and managing the risk to Nigeria. “We are in close communication with our partners including the World Health Organisation, who are in Congo to monitor and respond to the situation. The Port Health services unit has been placed on alert and have heightened screening measures at ports of entries. Letters of alert have also been sent to all States to enhance surveillance activities.”
It however advised that to prevent the spread of Ebola, members of the public are advised to wash their hands frequently using soap and water, use hand sanitizers when soap and water is not readily available, avoid direct handling of dead wild animals and physical contact with anyone who has possible symptoms of an infection with an unknown diagnosis. It also advised on the need to ensure that fruits and vegetables are properly washed and peeled before eating.
“Health care workers are advised to ensure universal care precautions at all times. This includes the use of personal protective equipment when handling patients always. In addition, patients who are suspected to have Ebola should be immediately isolated from other patients”.
NCDC ralso assured that it is fully committed and capable of protecting the health of all Nigerians from infectious disease outbreaks