Friday, 11 April 2014

Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak: Nigeria At Risk Warns Health Minister + All You Need To About Ebola Virus

Nigeria’s Federal Government said on Wednesday that the spread of Ebola Virus Disease to neighbouring West African countries has put the country in danger.

Professor Onyeabuchi Chukwu, Nigeria Minister of Health told journalists at the end of the weekly meeting of the cabinet that immigrants fleeing from crisis torn countries in Central Africa to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries such as Chad and Cameroon are putting the country in danger.

“ Ebola has been moving eastward towards Nigeria as well and we are already facing danger from Central African Republic, even with what is happening in Congo, people are also migrating to Chad and Chad, Cameroon are also on our borders,” said Chukwu who however noted that the country has not recorded any case of the disease.

Ebola Virus Disease has spread across West Africa with 137 cases and 86 deaths recorded since January this year.

But Professor Chukwu said Ebola which was more in Central Africa until now is just an addition to the ones that are even more native to West Africa which is Lassa fever.

“Some of these viruses belong to a group that causes similar diseases like yellow fever which for 18 years now, we have not had a single case, but 18 years ago it devastated Nigeria.
“It is also the cause of what is called haemorrhagic fever. Then Lassa fever which you know has been ongoing, there are even parts of Nigeria where it is endemic like the northern part of Edo State, they record a case every week and it is also very deadly. We recently diagnosed a case of Dengue fever. There is one called Mabuck fever, it has not yet been detected in Nigeria,” said the Health Minister.

The Minister said government will produce radio and television jingles and newspaper advertisements to create public awareness about Ebola.

He added that government would adopt the method used to fight the polio virus which include working with religious bodies, communities, traditional rulers and the media to educate Nigerians on the virus.

“As I speak to you, we have already approved jingles to be produced in various languages produced by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control to be aired on Radio, TV 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 you will help us to play your role by educating Nigerians,” said the Minister.

While warning that there is no vaccine for prevention of Ebola, and other diseases like Lassa fever, the Minister urged Nigerians to take precautions which include seeing the doctor immediately they notice they are feverish.

Professor Chukwu said people should not wait as the three day after medication theory does not apply which Ebola kills very fast.

He added that constant washing of hands after each activity, avoiding eating of fruits without washing, as well as non consumption of fruits that have been eaten by bats are also ways of guarding against being infected by the Ebola virus.

Fact on Ebola Virus Infection
Ebola is a rare but deadly infection that causes bleeding inside and outside the body.

The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus disease, kills up to 90% of people who are infected. Ebola can spread from country to country when people travel.

How Do You Get Ebola?
You can get Ebola by coming into contact with the blood or body fluids of an animal or person who is infected. Someone also can catch the virus by touching contaminated needles or surfaces.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola?
Symptoms of the Ebola virus show up 2 to 21 days after someone is infected. As the virus spreads through the body's cells, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, Ebola causes levels of blood-clotting cells, called platelets, to fall, which can lead to severe bleeding.

Many of the early symptoms of Ebola look like the flu or other mild illnesses. They include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea

As the disease gets worse, people who are infected may develop:
  • Bleeding inside and outside of the body
  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing

How Can You Tell if Someone Has Ebola?
Sometimes it's hard to tell if a person has Ebola from the symptoms alone. Doctors may first test for other diseases that have the same symptoms as Ebola, such as:
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis
  • Malaria
  • Meningitis
  • Typhoid fever

Tests of the blood and tissues, such as the ELISA test, also can help diagnose Ebola.

If someone might have Ebola, they should be isolated from the public immediately to help prevent the spread of Ebola.

How Is Ebola Treated?
Right now there is no real treatment or cure for Ebola. Doctors try to manage people's symptoms by giving them:
  • Fluids and electrolytes through a vein
  • Nutrition
  • Oxygen

How Can You Prevent Ebola?
There is no vaccine to prevent Ebola. People can avoid catching the disease by not traveling to areas where the virus is found.

Health care workers can prevent infection by wearing masks, gloves, and goggles whenever they come into contact with people who may have Ebola.

What Causes an Ebola outbreak?
Usually an outbreak starts when someone comes into contact with the body fluids or waste of infected animals, such as monkeys, chimps, or fruit bats. Once a person is infected, he or she can then spread it to others.

There are five different types of Ebola virus that cause the disease. Four of them are known to cause the disease in humans.

The Ebola virus first appeared during two 1976 outbreaks in Africa. Ebola gets its name from the Ebola River, which is near one of the villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease first appeared.


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