Ebola: Nigeria is in danger – FG
The Federal Government has raised the alarm that Nigeria is now in danger of an outbreak of Ebola fever.
Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told State House correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council meeting that the government has realised that Ebola is a real threat.
He said: “Ebola has been moving eastwards towards Nigeria as well and we’re already facing danger from Central African Republic, even with what’s happening in Congo. People are also migrating to Chad. Chad and Cameroon are also in our borders. So, Nigeria is in danger”.
According to him, bats which spread Ebola are seen by some Nigerians as bush meat.
He said: “bats eat fruits as well. So, sometimes, if you go and pluck fruits that they (bats) have contaminated with the virus, someone can get infected.”
The minister, who advocated personal hygiene, said the government had approved radio and television jingles to be aired in various languages as well as newspaper adverts to sensitize and educate Nigerians on the Ebola fever.
“It’s true that as at today, we’ve not been able to report a single case of Ebola. But mind you, Ebola is not the only threat; it’s an added threat because West Africa never had a single case of Ebola until this year. It was more in Central Africa. But now, we’ve added it to the ones that are even more native to West Africa, which is Lassa fever,” Chukwu said.
“We’ll soon review our adverts for things like anti-malaria because people still say if you’ve fever, take this drug for three days and if you don’t improve go and see your doctor. But we’re changing all that because now, if you wait three days for Ebola, you’re dead,” he said.
The Ebola Virus Disease has caused the death of hundreds of people in Central and West Africa.
Over 100 people have died from the disease in Guinea, while about 10 deaths have also been recorded in Liberia. The disease is believed to be spread through physical contact or contact with fluid of infected persons.
The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that it expects the disease to continue in West Africa for the next few months.
According to the World Health Organisation. In Africa, during Ebola Virus Disease outbreaks, educational public health messages for risk reduction should focus on several factors:
• Reducing the risk of wildlifeto-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their raw meat. Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
• Reducing the risk of human-tohuman transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids. Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home.
• Communities affected by Ebola should inform the population about the nature of the disease and about outbreak containment measures, including burial of the dead. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.