‘Ebola is still a threat to Nigeria’

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, on Wednesday, said the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and other highly pathogenic diseases remained threats to the West African sub-region.

Idris, who made this disclosure in a statement he signed in Lagos, called for all hands to be on deck in order to prevent and control the epidemics.

“You may recall that 28,645 people were infected during the last Ebola disease outbreak in six countries in the West African sub-region, out of which 11,324 died.

“This, represented 39.5 per cent Case Fatality Rate; all deaths from the epidemic, except 14, occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“Liberia was worst hit with 4,810 deaths; Nigeria recorded eight deaths, while Mali recorded six.

“All the affected countries have, however, been declared Ebola free,’’ he said, quoting April 2016 World Health Organisation and Centre for Citizens report”.

The commissioner said that the first EVD conference held on Jan. 18, 2015 in Dakar, Senegal, was to emphasise the key importance of the African response in combating Ebola.

He also said that the aim was to advocate various treatment strategies and preparedness against future outbreaks.

“The specific objectives of the African Voice and Leadership Conference on Ebola include, accelerating the evaluation of treatments and potential vaccines against Ebola.

“Reinforcing the leadership of African scientists in the fight against Ebola and other emergent highly pathogenic viral haemorrhagic infections, such as Lassa and Dengue Fever.

“Strengthening genuine community engagement in the response against the outbreak, including research efforts.

The commissioner also noted that Lassa Fever outbreak occurred in Nigeria between November 2015 and March 2016 in 21 states including Lagos State.

He recalled that the total laboratory confirmed cases were 80 out of which 50 persons died, representing 62.5 per cent case Fatality Rate.

“We also need to remind ourselves that three weeks ago, three cases of Zika Virus Infection were diagnosed in Guinea Bissau while Nigeria also recorded a case of Dengue Fever a few weeks ago.

“I have highlighted all these to underscore the need for the West African sub-region to be on full alert.

“And strengthen our disease surveillance mechanism as well as scale up our emergency preparedness and response platforms,” Idris said.

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