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Nigeria Tightens Measures against Ebola Outbreak

Passengers from Uganda have been placed on a 21-day watchlist.

Dr Ifedayo Adetifa

Nigeria has rolled out further measures aimed at forestalling and containing any outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus disease in the country.

Owing to this, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the lead agency on infectious disease control has issued a health advisory urging Nigerian citizens and residents to avoid all but essential travel to Uganda for now until the outbreak on Ebola in the country is contained.

It advised that in a situation where travel to Uganda is unavoidable, travellers should avoid contact with obviously sick persons or suspected cases of Ebola during their stay.

A statement issued Monday and signed by the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, stated that the Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has scaled up the screening of passengers returning from Uganda at point of entries.

The statement added: “Travellers to Nigeria with recent travel history to Uganda and persons already in Nigeria but with recent travel history to or transit through Uganda within the past 21 days who experience symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhoea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising should promptly call 6232 or state ministry of health hotlines for assessment and testing.”

Nigeria had earlier issued health advisory following declaration of Ebola Virus outbreak on September 20.

As of October 29, 2022, the Uganda Ministry of Health had reported 128 confirmed cases and 34 deaths.

The NCDC stated that based on available data and risk assessment conducted, Nigeria was at high risk of importing the virus.

“This risk is due to the large volume of air travel between Nigeria and Uganda and the mixing of passengers, especially at the regional travel hubs of Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Kigali airports and the additional risk from other neighbouring countries that share a direct border with Uganda should cases arise in other countries in the region.

“The outputs from this risk assessment are being used to initiate preparedness activities in country,” it said.

The NCDC DG stated that several measures had been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria.

According to the NCDC boss, the Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) was now in alert mode, while the development of an incident action plan for the first few cases of Ebola has commenced.

He also said surveillance has been heightened using the passenger pre-boarding health declaration and screening form in the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) platform.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo