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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has called for heightened vigilance and intensified awareness efforts over the latest outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Minister noted that health care providers and the general public must report any sign of illness to public health officials immediately.
This is coming as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured of adequate surveillance at the nation’s airports. Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN’s Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that there was no direct flight from Congo to Nigeria and that all the preventive measures being put in place at the airports were still in place.
The federal government in response to the announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which confirmed cases of Ebola in the DRC has directed port health officials to step up inspection activities and to report any sick person or suspects to ensure that epidemiologists in the states where they are present are immediately alerted and relevant tests conducted.
The symptoms to look out for include; fever, fatigue, weakness dizziness and muscle aches. Patients with more severe cases show bleeding under the skin, internal organs or even from bodily orifices like mouth, eyes, and the ears.
Nigerians are urged not to panic as the Centre for Disease Control is on ground and equipped to secure the health of citizens. The agency has for a while now, been strengthening states capacities to detect, manage and respond to hemorrhagic fevers including Lassa fever.
The minister called on states to begin social mobilisation and media awareness efforts via TV, radio, print and social media and charged state health ministries to strengthen their supervision services and escalate any incident appropriately.
Yakubu FAAN’s spokesperson, said that port health officials were at alert at all airports, adding that the authority had also informed them of the need to increase surveillance.
“We don’t have direct flights from Congo, we only have from Rwanda but I want to assure members of the public that we still have all preventive measures in place at our airports.
“There are sanitisers at our arrivals with the scanning apparatus called thermal scanners being installed by the Port Health Services.
“The scanners have camera monitors that display pictures aside the capturing of temperature.
“Passengers still fill that form to ensure that people arriving the country through our airports are not potential carriers of deadly diseases.
“The port health officials are always at alert and we will also inform them of the need to increase their surveillance.
“So, there is no cause for alarm,” she said.
Nigeria experienced the Ebola virus in July, 2014 when a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who had the virus flew from Liberia to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and died five days later.