Across Central and West African States, the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which has reportedly claimed over hundreds of life, might be on its way to Nigeria or already in Nigeria.
With the first case of the viral disease recorded in Ghana and have caused over 10 deaths in Liberia, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced on the 8th of April, that the dreaded disease is expected to spread across West Africa in the next few months.
Ebola virus is an incurable disease with no preventive vaccines, and can be contracted through physical contact and fluid contact with infected persons. Its symptoms include; severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden outset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
Speaking recently, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, has made it known publicly that the disease isn’t yet in Nigeria, but, warned that the virus is moving eastwards towards Nigeria. According to the minister, Nigeria is already facing danger from Central African Republic, most especially in the case of what is happening in Congo, where people are migrating to Chad, Cameroon and also in Nigeria borders. He has however promised that the Federal government will create awareness and educate the entire public through leaflets and jingles that would be produced in various languages and aired on all kinds of media house.
Speaking also, in a statement from The Sun, the former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, urged the nation’s health officials to take precautionary measures just as Morocco and Saudi Arabia, and called for extra health screening at all entry points into the country.
Speaking further in the statement (read in part), Atiku said, ‘The past week has been filled with elation as I have watched my son, Abba, marry the love of his life, but my heart is heavy over news of the recent Ebola (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, which has claimed the lives of at least 86 Guineans and two Liberian citizens.
“It is with love for my country and our West African brothers and sisters that I write to spread awareness of the disease, and encourage Nigerian citizens and the Federal Government to take every necessary precaution to ensure that our country remains unaffected by EVD.”
“The International Congress on Infectious Disease (ICID) has stressed that there is no need for alarm, but has encouraged West African governments to work together to contain the spread of the virus.
“As of 06 April 2014, there have been no reported cases of Ebola disease within Nigeria, and the Federal Health Ministry has set up precautions to fight against its transmission from affected countries.”
“I would like to encourage the Federal Government and others in leadership to similarly spread the message and establish a localized protocol to guard against possible infection in Nigeria. As part of the protocol, I encourage the FG to follow suit with Morocco and Saudi Arabia, by instituting extra health screening at entry points to the country.
“To the citizens of Nigeria, I encourage both your awareness and calm cooperation with health experts as they employ international best practices to prevent EVD.
“If you or a loved one are exhibiting signs and symptoms of EVD, please contact your local health officials immediately.
“I have full confidence in Nigeria’s health authorities and their international healthcare partners to effectively survey for illness and monitor for unusual patterns and symptoms compatible with the disease.
“My prayers are with our West African neighbors as they continue their efforts to protect their citizens from Ebola disease. I remain confident that the Nigerian government and health officials will employ every effort to protect the Nigerian people, and that we Nigerians will remain informed and steadfast in our response to EVD”.