NCDC says Nigeria at risk as Ebola kills dozens in Uganda


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has issued an alert of the Sudan strain Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Uganda.

Officially declared on 20th September, the Uganda Ministry of Health reported 128 cases and 34 deaths as of 29th October.

The NCDC said the National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Technical Working Group assessed the risk of Ebola importation to Nigeria.

“Based on available data and risk assessment conducted, Nigeria is at HIGH risk of importation of the virus”, an advisory on its website reads.

The agency said the risk is due to the large volume of air travel between Nigeria and Uganda and the mixing of passengers.

NCDC listed Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Kigali airports, and countries that share borders with Uganda as places where people must be cautious.

The advisory said several measures had been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak.

The NCDC Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) is now in alert mode, while an action plan for the first few cases has commenced

Point of Entry (POE) surveillance has been heightened via the passenger pre-boarding health declaration and screening form in the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) platform.

Passengers from Uganda and persons who transited through the country will be followed up for 21 days after their arrival.

Also, Trained Rapid Response Teams are on standby and all State Public Health Emergency Operations Centres (PHEOCs) are on alert mode.

Ebola can be transmitted via contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or has died from EVD, tissues of infected fruit bats, monkeys or chimpanzees.

The virus can enter the body stream through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

People infected with the Sudan strain cannot spread the disease until the development of symptoms which may appear from 2 to 21 days.

The symptoms are fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, internal and external bleeding.

The NCDC advised Nigerians to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitisers and avoid contact with anyone infected with an unknown diagnosis.

Citizens were asked to avoid all but essential travel to Uganda until health authorities have confirmed the containment of the outbreak.

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