It would seem that Nigerians are still sceptical that Nigeria can be free of the Ebola disease, one year after the World Health Organisation, WHO, declared Nigeria free of the virus. They think that people must take care of themselves to avoid contacting the disease despite WHO’s declaration.
Recently, it was reported that 10 people were quarantined in Nigeria after an Ebola scare as a man died of disease-like symptoms and his blood samples sent for testing. This, however, came with another insinuation that the deadly disease could also be contacted through sex.
BBC reported that the man showing Ebola-like symptoms died shortly after he was admitted to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital in the southeastern part of the country, near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
The BBC quoted the chief medical director, Queeneth Kalu as saying, “We have sent blood samples for testing and quarantined identified contacts.”
Kalu listed quarantined individuals to include the nurses who cared for the patient. The scare came the same day Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the West African countries that suffered the most from Ebola celebrated their first week without new case after the virus started spreading across the region in March 2014.
According to World Health Organisation, WHO, the outbreak has killed more than 11,000 people, warning that it still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Although the Country’s Representative of WHO, Dr. Rui Gama Vaz, announced the certification of Nigeria as Ebola free country on October 19,2014, in Abuja, during a world press briefing on EVD, it urged Nigeria to lend a helping hand to three African countries still battling with the disease.
Vaz said that the progress recorded by Nigeria is commendable and shows that Ebola Virus Disease can be surmounted anywhere in the world with a sustained effort and through strong collaboration.
Speaking then, Vaz said, “Today is 42 days, twice the incubation period that Nigeria has not recorded any fresh case of Ebola Virus Disease and this shows that the chain of transmission is broken.
“WHO now declares Nigeria free from EVD. The virus is gone now. The outbreak has been broken. This is to show the world that Ebola Virus Disease can be overcome. If a country like Nigeria can eradicate guinea worm disease and contain EVD, any other country of the world can do the same.
“We need to share the experiences and the approaches used in overcoming the deadly virus in Nigeria to other countries of the world being ravaged by EVD so that they can learn and collectively we can eradicate the virus.”
Just when the world thought the threat of the deadly EVD had become insignificant, this news of a man died Ebola-like symptom has justifiably set alarm bells ringing. The Ebola outbreak is spreading within West Africa, with 158 deaths reported in the last week, according to the World Health Organisation.
WHO said that despite what may seem like skyrocketing numbers, the disease is not that easy to spread in the absence of close contact with an infected person.
Also a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. William Schaffner, said that Ebola typically spreads through contact with bodily fluids, which include blood, vomit, faeces, sweat, saliva, tears and semen.
It was revealed that when an infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread to others through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with: blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.
Again, objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with body fluids from a person who is sick with Ebola or the body of a person who has died from Ebola.
The disease according to experts can be contracted through fruit bats or primates (apes and monkeys), and possibly from contact with semen from a man who has recovered from Ebola (for example, by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex).
Expert also said that community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation.
Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus, but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.