FG: We have case of Dengue fever, not Ebola virus
Minister of State for Health Dr. Khaliru Alhassan yesterday said the reported case of a lady dying of the Ebola virus was actually of Dengue hemorrhage fever.
The 15-year-old lady had died at the Irrua teaching Hospital, Edo state last week after she was referred there by the Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital, Abuja following aggravated symptoms, Daily Trust learnt.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the minister insisted that Nigeria had not witnessed any case of Ebola and would remain so as several mechanisms have been put in place to stop any cross border transmission.
Alhassan explained that the misconception on the type of disease might have risen because of some similarities in symptoms the two diseases share adding that so far only three countries in the West African region namely Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have reported cases of Ebola.
“Denger fever is caused by a virus named Dengue Fever Virus (DFV). It is transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly in urban and semiurban areas,” he said.
“The activities of the mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) that transmit this virus are being closely monitored nationwide by the Arbovirus Research Centre of the Federal Ministry of Health based in Enugu.”
The symptoms of the disease, he added, include “headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and rashes.”
Alhassan said “at the outset of the disease, it mimics malaria and often so, it is mistakenly diagnosed as Malaria.
“However, other signs of Denger fever which include gums, bloody diarrhea, bleeding from the nose and severe pain behind the eyes, red palms and soles differentiate it from malaria.”
He said the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has swung into action and upgraded its surveillance activities.
According to him all states and the nation’s port health posts and medical centres have been put on high alert to screen travelers from countries with confirmed Ebola fever occurrence even as he advised “Nigerian citizens travelling to these countries to be careful and should report any illness with the above symptoms to the nearest health facility.”
Also speaking, the head of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi warned hunters to guide against coming in contact with bush meat killed during hunting and for Nigerians to be extra-ordinarily careful with bush and smoked meat, as the Ebola and Dengue fevers could be contacted through indiscriminate eating of smoked meat.