The federal government has called on Nigerians to disregard rumours of a positive case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country, saying effort had been heightened at the various ports of entry into the country to ensure that people with illness coming into Nigeria are properly screened.
In a statement signed by the Director of Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Boade Akinola, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Abdullaziz Abdullahi, stated that in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, a recent risk assessment conducted by the Nigeria Ebola Preparedness Team indicated that the overall risk of importation of Ebola virus to Nigeria from Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda was low.
He also described as false, an alleged message circulating on the social media purporting a positive case of Ebola Virus Disease in the country.
The permanent secretary also called on members of the public to discourage the circulation of any unverified information, which he said could cause harm to innocent people and unnecessary panic among the citizens.
Abdullahi said: “The federal government has assured its citizens that since the reports of outbreak of EVD in the Democratic Republic of Congo, heightened surveillance had been on-going at the various points of entry by officials of the Port Health Services division of the ministry to prevent importation into Nigeria.
“To this effect, every passenger with illness has been properly screened and I can say categorically that none of the patients screened has tested positive for Ebola or any other deadly
“In line with WHO’s guidelines, a recent preliminary risk assessment conducted by the Nigeria Ebola Preparedness Team coordinated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control indicated that the overall risk of importing EVD to Nigeria from Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda is low, but we are not resting on our oars in view of trading activities of Nigerians.
“The Nigerian Government remains fully committed while working closely with the WHO, state ministries of health, partners and all other stakeholders to protect the health of all Nigerians. However, necessary protocols are being followed in line with international health regulations.”
THISDAY learnt from earlier statement signed by the National Chairman, Aviation Health of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), which earlier discountenanced the rumour and explained that there was arrival of a female passenger from the Democratic Republic of Congo on religious tourism to Nigeria.
“Following the social media scare making the rounds as regards a rumoured Ebola case in Lagos, Ports (Aviation) Health office at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport; Office of the Epidemiologist, Lagos State Ministry of Health; the Chief Microbiologist and other relevant authorities have been contacted for clarifications.
“The fact is…an adult female arrived in Nigeria from DR Congo yesterday (Tuesday) through the MMA (Airline name withheld) for a church programme. She was acutely ill, feverish and had episode of vomiting. Her travel history made her a contact suspect for Ebola, and she was promptly isolated. Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS) was deployed and she was promptly transferred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) where she was resuscitated and samples taken and sent for Ebola virology. When the results were out, it was negative for Ebola.
“The subject is well now, and has been discharged from the hospital. Active state of alert and surveillance however continues. We are requested to please help stop the spread of this Ebola scare by providing the facts and promptly dispelling sensational rumours, as mass hysteria is the last thing Nigerians deserve at this moment,” NMA boss said.
Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda have recently witnessed a resurgence of the virus in their countries with Ugandan Ministry of Health announcing on June 11, 2019, the first cross-border case in the current outbreak.