Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Following the declaration of Ebola Virus disease outbreak in Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that it has initiated a number of response activities, including a public health advisory.
The NCDC said in a statement issued yesterday night that it has an existing multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases
Working Group (EVHDWG).
This group coordinates preparedness efforts for EVD and other emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases.
The statement said that EVHDWG has carried out a risk assessment on the possibility of transmission of the virus to Nigeria.
It said: “Given the proximity of Guinea to Nigeria and other West African countries as well as other indicators, Nigeria has been placed at moderate risk of an EVD outbreak. “The outputs from this risk assessment are being used to initiate preparedness activities in-country”.
NCDC explained that several measures have been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
According to the statement, a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) operating from NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) is on alert mode.
“We have a team of first responders on standby, ready to be deployed within 24 hours in the event of an EVD outbreak in Nigeria. We have also established testing capacity for EVD at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory. The NCDC will continue working with states to strengthen preparedness activities across the country”.
NCDC noted that the Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has scaled up screening at points of entry, adding that it will also scale up risk communications and other activities.
While providing tips on the disease, NCDC said Ebola virus can be transmitted via direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD.
It said the virus can enter the body stream through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
“This can also be spread through contact with objects contaminated by infected persons as well as direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or primates,” it said.
NCDC said that in order to prevent the spread of Ebola, it advises members of the public to adhere to the following precautions, washing of hands frequently using soap and water, use hand sanitisers when soap and water is not readily available.
Other preventive measures is to avoid direct handling of dead wild animals.