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Nigeria heightens screening measures against Ebola Virus Disease

The Nigeria Ebola Preparedness team, coordinated by the NCDC, has conducted preliminary risk assessment following the recent confirmation of Ebola Virus Disease in Kasese District of Uganda, and says that improved point-of-entry screenings in major airports is ongoing.

While noting that the Port Health Services unit of the Federal Ministry of Health is on alert, and has heightened screening measures at entry points at our ports.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in a statement signed by the Director of Prevention and Control, Dr Joshua Obasanya said the agency is monitoring the Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda, and indicated that the risk assessment is low.

The Nigeria Ebola Preparedness Team said it has put in place several measures to ensure adequate preparedness.

“The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), situated at the Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) in NCDC Abuja, is functional and currently in Alert Mode for EVD. The team of national first responders are on standby and ready for deployment within 24 hours when the need arises.”

“Public Health EOCs (PHEOCs) in States where major points of entry are located (Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt) are also on standby. In addition to the above, designated treatment centres and isolation facilities have been identified. Nigeria currently has in-country capacity for the diagnosis of EVD within NCDC’s National Reference Laboratories.”

Recall that on the 11th of June 2019, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of EVD in Kasese District, at the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The index case was a 5-year old boy who fell ill after a visit to Mabalako Health Zone in Democratic Republic of the Congo to attend the burial of his grand-father, a confirmed EVD case, who died in the community on 1st of June 2019.

As at 12th June 2019, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) has confirmed three (03) cases of EVD and one (01) death recorded. A total of eight contacts have been identified and are being closely monitored. As at 14th June 2019, ring vaccination for high risk contacts and frontline healthcare workers is currently ongoing. The district taskforce on EVD, a national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), WHO Uganda Country Office and Partners are supporting the response in the country.

It is noteworthy to state that outbreaks of EVD are known to bear risk of international spread hence the rationale for continual evaluation of Nigeria’s potential risk amidst regional trade and flight route within the region.

“Based on available data, the overall risk of importation of EVD to Nigeria remains low. This is also in line with WHO’s risk assessment for Nigeria. There are no direct commercial flights and no known direct trade routes to Nigeria from Uganda. The current transmission pathway of the disease in Uganda is through unmanned land borders and further away from the capitals of both Uganda and Nigeria”.

Ebola Virus Disease, also known as Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (EHF) or simply Ebola, is a viral haemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by Ebola viruses. It is caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species, four of which can cause disease in humans. The virus can be transmitted via direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD. The virus can enter the body stream through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth and 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.

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