NIGERIA FACES EBOLA THREAT

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News article culled from Daily Times NG:

Finally, the Federal Government on Wednesday admitted that Nigeria was in danger with the rate at which the Ebola virus had been moving eastward towards the country.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, raised the alarm while answering questions from State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Chukwu reiterated that the threat being posed by the Ebola virus was real.

Though, he said Nigeria had not reported any case of the disease, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would soon produce jingles in various languages to sensitise Nigerians to the threat posed by the virus, which currently has no vaccine and treatment.

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The minister warned Nigerians not to wait for three days as customary of malaria fever before seeking medical attention, saying such a period was enough for an infected person to die.

He said, “Ebola has been moving eastward towards Nigeria as well and we are already facing danger from the Central African Republic, even with what is happening in Congo, people are also migrating to Chad and Cameroon are also in our borders.

“So, Nigeria is in danger but we have recently said that in addition to the leaflets that we are producing for Lassa and other fevers, we will now emphasise Ebola fever.

“As I speak to you, we have already approved four jingles to be produced in various languages for the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control to be aired on radio and television stations and newspaper adverts.

“Then we are working with all groups, just like we are doing for polio. Religious bodies, communities, traditional rulers and the media  which is most important in this venture will help us to play your role by educating Nigerians.

“There is no vaccine, so it is not a question of government has not produced vaccines for Ebola or Lassa fever. If there was vaccine, government will certainly buy a stock and keep; and there is no specific treatment.”

The minister explained that while a special type of rat spreads infection for Lassa fever, bats, he said, were responsible for Ebola.

He said one could be infected by eating fruits that had been contaminated with the virus by bats.

Chukwu urged Nigerians to apply personal hygiene.

“We will soon review our adverts for things like anti-malaria because they still say if you have fever, take this for three days, if you don’t improve go and see your doctor. But we are changing all that because now if you wait three days for Ebola, you are dead,” he said.

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