Fresh Ebola out­break: Nigeria on red alert

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Judd-Leonard Okafor

Nige­rian health au­thor­i­ties have raised the alert level for Ebola af­ter re­ported deaths in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo were linked to the Ebola vi­ral hem­or­rhagic fever. The Fed­eral Min­istry of Health is to step up emer­gency sur­veil­lance at all land bor­ders and air­ports af­ter lab­o­ra­tory test­ing con­firmed two of five hem­or­rhagic fever in­fec­tions in the DRC as Ebola.

Nige­rian of­fi­cials will also screen in­com­ing pas­sen­gers, with spe­cial em­pha­sis on pas­sen­gers from the DRC and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

The min­istry will also re­ac­ti­vate the emer­gency op­er­a­tions cen­tre, the re­port­ing and cen­tral-com­mand struc­ture it de­ployed to con­tain Nigeria’s first-ever en­counter with Ebola in 2014. The cen­tre also helped con­tin­gents from Nigeria deal with the out­break in the three most af­fected coun­tries-Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

“We will also en­sure we step up all ac­tiv­i­ties screen­ing peo­ple com­ing in so that we will not be caught un­awares,” said health min­is­ter, Isaac Ade­wole.

The Nige­rian Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol is to send out a con­tin­gent to help build DRC’s ca­pac­ity to re­spond to the out­break.

Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials at air­ports will use ther­mome­ters in pas­sen­ger screen­ing.

They will look for pas­sen­gers with high tem­per­a­ture read­ings and pos­si­bil­ity of fever and hand them over to port health of­fi­cials, Sun­day James, spokesman of the Nigeria Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vice, said.

At least 17 peo­ple have died in DRC, the ninth out­break recorded in the coun­try.

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