The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has warned that Nigeria is at high risk of importing the deadly Ebola virus from Uganda which officially declared an outbreak on the 20th of September 2022.
This was disclosed by the NCDC in a Public health advisory issued on Monday, October 31st, as seen by Nairametrics.
The statement by the NCDC noted that the Uganda Ministry of Health had reported 128 confirmed cases and 34 deaths as of 29th October 2022.
Assessment indicates Nigeria is at risk: The NCDC explained that based on available data and the risk assessment that has been conducted, Nigeria is at high risk of importing the virus. Part of the statement said:
“This risk is due to the large volume of air travel between Nigeria and Uganda and the mixing of passengers, especially at the regional travel hubs of Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Kigali airports and the additional risk from other neighbouring countries that share a direct border with Uganda should cases arise in other countries in the region. The outputs from this risk assessment are being used to initiate preparedness activities in-country.”
Several measures have been put in place: Some of the actions taken by the NCDC to mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria include the following:
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The NCDC Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) is now in alert mode.
Development of an incident action plan for the first few cases of EVD has commenced
POE surveillance has been heightened using the passenger pre-boarding health declaration and screening form in the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) platform.
Passengers arriving from Uganda and persons who transited in Uganda are being followed up for 21 days after they arrived in Nigeria for their health status.
Trained Rapid Response Teams are on standby to be deployed in the event of an outbreak.
All State Public Health Emergency Operations Centres (PHEOCs) are in alert mode.
A medical countermeasures plan is available.
Amplification of risk communication and engagement with states and partners to strengthen preparedness activities which include– a review of risk communication protocols, plans, and messages in the event of an outbreak.
Nigeria has an active infection prevention and control (IPC) programme nationwide with guidelines and training packages developed for healthcare workers.
Ebola is highly contagious: The NCDC warned that the Ebola virus can be transmitted via direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from the virus. It can also enter the body stream through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The NCDC urged Nigerian citizens and residents to AVOID ALL BUT ESSENTIAL TRAVEL to Uganda for now until public health authorities have determined the outbreak to be contained. When travel to Uganda is unavoidable, travellers are advised to avoid contact with obviously sick persons or suspected cases of Ebola.
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“Persons already in Nigeria but with recent travel history to or transit through Uganda within the past 21 days who experience symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhoea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising should promptly call 6232 or state ministry of health hotlines for assessment and testing,” they added.