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Nigeria is at risk of Ebola – NCDC warns

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has said Nigeria is at moderate risk of Ebola outbreak.

The NCDC said through its website that the decision was based on the country’s proximity to Guinea and other West African countries where the virus has broken out and caused deaths.

Following the declaration of the outbreak, the Guinean government has initiated response activities. The World Health Organization, Africa Centres for Disease Control, and West African Health Organisation have announced that they are supporting the country’s response activities.

The NCDC says it has an existing multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group, which coordinates preparedness efforts for EVD and other emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases.

“The EVHDWG has carried out a risk assessment on the possibility of transmission of the virus to Nigeria.

“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 said.The agency continued that it has however put measures in place to curtail the spread of the virus.

“A National Emergency Operations Centre operating from NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre 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 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.

To prevent the spread of Ebola, NCDC advises members of the public to adhere to the following precautions:

• Wash your hands frequently using soap and water – use hand sanitisers when soap and water is not readily available.

• Avoid direct handling of dead wild animals.

• Avoid physical contact with anyone who has possible symptoms of an infection with an unknown diagnosis.

• Make sure fruits and vegetables are properly washed and peeled before you eat them.

• Health care workers are advised to ensure universal precautions at all times. This includes the use of personal protective equipment always when handling patients.

Meanwhile, the NCDC has been at the forefront of stopping the spread of COVID-19 that has plagued the world. The agency has recovered about 126,000 of the about 150,000 cases of COVID-19 in the country.

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