Fresh Ebola outbreak: Nigeria on red alert
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.