Nigeria At Moderate Risk Of Fresh Ebola Outbreak, Says NCDC
The centre disclosed this in its health advisory released on Thursday following the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea.
World Health Organisation (WHO) on October 20,2014 certified Nigeria free of the disease, after Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian imported the disease to the country.
The virus claimed lives in Nigeria, including that of Dr Stella Adadevoh, who treated Sawyer and prevented him from leaving the Lagos hospital where he was admitted.
However, in the latest health update on its website, NCDC said a fresh outbreak of the disease is likely owing to the proximity of Nigeria to Guinea, where there are currently Ebola cases.
NCDC said it has an existing multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG), which coordinates preparedness efforts for viral haemorrhagic diseases.
The EVHDWG has carried out a risk assessment on the possibility of transmission of the virus to Nigeria.
Given the proximity of Guinea to Nigeria and other West African countries as well as other indicators, Nigeria has been placed at moderate risk of an EVD outbreak. The outputs from this risk assessment are being used to initiate preparedness activities in-country.
The agency assured that several measures had been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
A National Emergency Operations Centre operating from NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre is on alert mode. We have a team of first responders on standby, ready to be deployed within 24 hours in the event of an EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
We have also established testing capacity for EVD at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory. The NCDC will continue working with states to strengthen preparedness activities across the country.
On his part, Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, assured Nigerians that the agency is monitoring developments closely.
He said NCDC will work with National Primary Health Care Development Agency to develop a clear plan for accessing Ebola vaccines.
The DG expressed;
The NCDC will continue to monitor the situation and initiate preparedness activities across the country. We are in close contact with WHO, ACDC and WAHO for cross-border coordination. We urge members of the public to remain aware of the risks and adhere to all safety measures. The NCDC remains fully committed to protecting the health of all Nigerians from infectious disease threats.
The development comes at a time Nigeria is battling COVID-19 outbreak. The country, as at Thursday, exceeded 150,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.