The Nigerian Government disclosed that following the Outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda, the National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers Technical Working Group coordinated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has conducted a rapid risk assessment to inform Nigeria’s preparedness.
NCDC states that the overall risk of importation of the Ebola virus and the impact on the health of Nigerians has been assessed as HIGH.
This was disclosed in a statement on Tuesday evening by the NDCDC. They added that Passengers arriving from Uganda and persons who transited in Uganda are being followed up for 21 days of their arrival in Nigeria.
What they said:
They disclosed that NCDC is aware of the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) caused by the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus (EV) in Uganda as declared on 20th September 2022.
“This outbreak has also been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Sudan strain of the Ebola virus is the known cause of EVD having caused previous outbreaks in Uganda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo”
They added that The Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed the virus in samples collected from a 24-year-old male who exhibited symptoms of the disease and later died as a result in Mubende District in the Central Region about 175km from the capital, Kampala.
“As of 29th September 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health has reported 54 cases (35 confirmed and 19 probable) and 25 deaths (7 confirmed and 18 probable). The Ugandan Ministry of Health with support from WHO is working to effectively respond to and contain the spread of the virus”.
The NCDC said it –led a multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Technical Working Group (NEVHD TWG) working with partners and stakeholders and has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities.
They added that based on available data, the overall risk of importation and the impact on the health of Nigerians have been assessed as HIGH for the following reasons:
The Sudan Ebola Virus does not currently have an effective drug for treatment or licensed vaccine for prevention.
The extent of the outbreak in Uganda has not yet been ascertained as investigations have shown that some persons may have died with similar symptoms which were not reported to health authorities. In addition, their burials were not conducted safely to prevent transmission.
The case fatality rate of the Sudan virus varied from 41% to 100% in past outbreaks.
The likelihood of importation to Nigeria is high due to the increased air travel between Nigeria and Uganda, especially through Kenya’s Nairobi airport, a regional transport hub, and other neighbouring countries that share a direct border with Uganda.
The likelihood of spread in Nigeria following importation is high due to the gatherings and travel associated with politics, the coming yuletide as well as other religious gatherings and festivals during the last few months of the year.
They noted that Nigeria has the capacity – technical, human (health workforce), and diagnostic – to respond effectively in the event of an outbreak, stating, “We have the diagnostic capacity to test for the EVD presently at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology Laboratory. However, diagnostic capacity will be scaled up to other laboratories in cities with important Points of Entry (POE) and others as may be required”.
They said no cases have been reported in Nigeria but Passengers arriving from Uganda and persons who transited in Uganda are being followed up for 21 days of their arrival in Nigeria on their health status.
What you should know
The Ugandan government reported last week that 11 people died in the latest Ebola outbreak and at least two dozen others have been admitted to a health facility as authorities attempt to stop the disease from spreading.