World Health Organisation has classified Nigeria and other countries on the continent at “moderate risk of spread” of Ebola virus disease after an outbreak was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The confirmation came after 16 out of 19 people died from a viral haemorrhagic fever in Bikoro area of the DRC. Two of five samples tested were positive to Ebola.

The confirmation has put Nigeria on high alert, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has issued an advisory to help the public prevent an outbreak of Ebola in the country.

“Wash your hands frequently using soap and water – use hand sanitizers when soap and water is not readily available,” the centre said in the latest advisory.

“Avoid direct handling of dead wild animals.

“Avoid physical contact with anyone who has possible symptoms of an infection with an unknown diagnosis.

“Make sure fruit and vegetables are properly washed and peeled before you eat them.”

In addition, it advises health workers 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,” it added.

Ebola is a zoonotic disease, affecting both animals and humans. Any of five known species of Ebola can cause an infection, but four of them can cause the disease in humans.

It transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of some who is sick with or has died from Ebola.

The virus can get in through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

It can also 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.

Symptoms of Ebola range from sudden high fever and severe headache to  muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

One distinct symptom is bleeding from body openings—as is seen in other haemorrhagic (or bleeding) fevers. The symptoms may appear 2 to 21 days after exposure to an infection.

NCDC says it is coordination a national working group “assessing and managing” the risk of Ebola 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,” the centre said.

The centre had opened a toll-free line for advice, enquiries and notifications: 0800 9700 0010 for calls; 08099555577 for text; and 07087110839 for WhatsApp messaging.


Source: Daily Trust News



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