Deadly Ebola Virus has Nigerian authorities on alert
Following the alarming increase in the number of cases and deaths occasioned by the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in some of the neighboring West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Lagos State Government has stressed the need for members of the public to observe and maintain high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease in the State.
These measures which include washing of hands often with soap and water, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and ensuring that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed are necessary in order to reduce the risk of infection, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris has said.
The Commissioner who disclosed this in a statement over the weekend also advised health workers to be at alert; wear personal protective equipment, observe universal basic precautions when attending to suspected or confirmed cases, and report same to their Local Government Area or Ministry of Health immediately.
Idris explained that Ebola virus disease is caused by a virus which natural reservoir of virus is not completely known, stressing that fruit bats have been considered to be the natural host of the virus.
“Ebola Virus Disease is caused by the Ebola virus and outbreaks occur primarily in villages of the Central and West Africa. The virus can be spread through, close contact with the blood, body fluids, organ and tissues of infected animals; direct contact with blood, organ or body secretions of an infected person. The transmission of the virus by other animals like monkey and chimpanzee cannot be ruled out”.
Idris noted that those at the highest risk of the disease include health-workers; and families or friends of an infected person who could be infected in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them.
He stressed that Ebola virus disease should be suspected in persons who develop bleeding from the body openings like the mouth, nose, rectum and ear; a close contact of person who is infected; or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed infected person.
“Early symptoms of disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death”, Idris explained.
The Health Commissioner noted that presently, there is no specific treatment for Ebola virus disease stressing that infected persons will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialized care and treated in isolation.
“The Government of Lagos State in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health is putting measures in place to prevent its entry and spread in the country. These measures include sensitization of health workers, active search for cases of the disease and continuous sensitization of the public”, he said.