Nigeria at alert as Ebola breaks out in Guinea

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 75 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week across the country. Its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known at the national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

Barely 24 hours after Guinea declared Ebola outbreak in the country as an epidemic, Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria has been directed to scale up screening at the port of entry.

Guinea had on Sunday declared a new outbreak of Ebola six years after the last Ebola episode in the country.

Confirming this development in a chat with newsmen, the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the centre was aware of the outbreak and are currently monitoring the situation closely.

According to him, the cases have been detected in a region that is in close proximity to Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire, which may be associated with the measures taken by the Liberian Government.

He said: “We to scale up screening at points of entry. We are also carrying out a risk assessment and will use findings from these to introduce additional preparedness activities. We will issue a public health advisory to Nigerians and State Ministries of Health.”

Explaining further, Ihekweazu noted that the one major difference between the 2014 Ebola outbreak and now was the fact that there is a licensed Ebola vaccine.

“A vaccine stockpile has been established by groups coordinated by WHO, so that the vaccine can be accessed by countries experiencing outbreaks.

“The vaccine played a critical role during the DRC outbreak last year, and is an important mechanism for outbreak control now available to countries,” he added.

The NCDC boss said the centre was also in touch with the World Health Organisation, WHO, Africa Centre for Disease Control, CDC, and West African Health Organisation, WAHO that are supporting the country and coordinating response activities across the region.

Also, Sierra Leone has also launched an emergency response against the Ebola virus following reports about the outbreak in neighbouring Guinea.

There are currently no reported Ebola cases in Sierra Leone.

According to the government of Sierra Leone, they have activated their Health Emergency Response System to level II (Enhanced Surveillance, Active Case Finding and robust Community Engagement),” the ministry.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and is estimated by the World Health Organisation to have a 50 per cent fatality rate.

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