Monday, 31 March 2014

FG issues red alert on Ebola outbreak

ON the heels of the outbreak of the Ebola Haemorrhagic fever in Guinea, the Federal Ministry of Health has issued an alert urging persons with high fever, headache, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and bleeding and especially with a history of travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia, to report to the health authorities at once.
Already, an alert has been issued to all 36 State Commissioners of Health to mobilise against the disease, while the Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with the West African Health Organization, WAHO, and the World Health Organization, WHO, to deploy experts to Guinea on request to strengthen its response capacity.
Disclosing this in Abuja in a statement, Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister of Health, Mr. Dan Nwome, said theapex Ministry admonished the general public to take measures to avert the outbreak or spread of the disease.
Noting that Nigeria has capacity to diagnose the disease if it appears here, Nwome said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently studying the outbreak trends and has mobilised its rapid response teams and developed a detailed response plan that includes a comprehensive health education/health promotion to sensitise Nigerians, enhanced surveillance to detect and treat the disease, while mobilising its treatment/isolation centres. An alert has been issued to all State Commissioners of Health to mobilise against the disease.
The Federal Ministry of Health is working closely with West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is ready to deploy experts to Guinea on request by the affected country to strengthen its response capacity.
Ebola is a deadly haemorrhagic fever which first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo.
In February 2014 the Republic of Guinea reported an outbreak of Ebola, which had hitherto not occurred in the West African sub-region. Between that period and the 26th of March, 2014 a total of 86 cases were reported out of which 62 deaths occurred with a mortality rate of 72 percent.
The most affected areas in Guinea are the south-eastern forest areas that currently have 7 persons undergoing treatment in isolated centres. The outbreak was confirmed as Ebola by the Institute Pasteur, Lyon, France, Institute Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal and in Hamburg,
Germany. It is now confirmed that the outbreak has further spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone where suspected cases are being investigated.
Causes
Ebola causes Ebola virus disease, EVD, in humans, with a case fatality rate ranging between 60 – 90 percent. The virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Hunting for “bush meat” in forest and pre-forest areas and eating of bats have been associated with this outbreak.
Prevention
However, prevention efforts focus on avoiding contact with the viruses. According to medical experts says avoid traveling to areas of known outbreaks is key.
Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures for Ebola virus is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.
Avoid bush meat. In developing countries like Nigeria, wild animals, including nonhuman primates, are sold in local markets. Avoid buying or eating any of these animals.
Avoid contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person’s body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.
Follow infection-control procedures. If you are a health care worker, wear protective clothing — such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Carefully disinfect and dispose of needles and other instruments. Injection needles and syringes should not be reused.
Don’t handle remains people that died of the disease. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola disease are still contagious. Specially organised and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.
 culled from Vanguard

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