Health Minister Debunks Outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, Says Is Dengue Fever
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan has denied a report in section of the media on the outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria.
The Minister made the clarification in Abuja today when he briefed the Press on the purported rumour of the ebola virus in Nigeria.
He said as a follow up to the report in a section of the media on the outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that laboratory investigation has revealed that it is a case of Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever and not that of Ebola virus as erroneously reported.
He said that the outbreak of the ebola disease was recorded in Guinea which has so far claimed 80 lives adding that the disease has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia which they share border with Guinea. He stated categorically that there is no recorded case of Ebola Virus in Nigeria.
He explained that Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever (DHF) is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and rashes. At onset of the disease, it mimics Malaria and, often so, it is mistakenly diagnosed as Malaria. However, other signs of Dengue fever which include bleeding gums, bloody diarrhoea, bleeding from the nose and severe pain behind the eyes, red palms and soles differentiate it from Malaria Laboratory tests are usually necessary for its confirmation.
Dr.Alhassan said that prevention of transmission of Dengue Heamrrhagic Fever is similar to the prevention of Malaria. It is therefore very important to give environmental sanitation and mosquito bites control a high priority to reduce mosquito-human contact and also to eliminate multiplication of mosquitoes that are the vectors of the Dengue fever virus.
He reaffirmed that the Laboratories at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have the capacity to confirm the Dengue Heamorrhagic Fever and other Viral Hemorrhagic fevers adding that the Federal Ministry of Health has intensified surveillance activities on this disease and all States Ministries of Health are alerted.
He stressed that any suspected case should be reported to the nearest health facility including General Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) or Teaching Hospitals where non-specific and symptomatic drugs against this disease have been prepositioned.
He announced that all Nigerian Port Health posts and border medical centres have been put on high alert to screen travellers from countries with confirmed Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever occurrences pointing out that Nigerian citizens travelling to these countries are advised to be careful and should report any illnesses with the above stated symptoms to the nearest health facility.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Health is in the process of enhancing multi-sectoral collaboration with the Livestock Department of Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), World Health Organisation (WHO), US Centre Disease Control (CDC), etc.