Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Medical | By Bryan Strickland

Nigeria on red alert over fresh Ebola outbreak

Nigeria on red alert over fresh Ebola outbreak

The last Ebola outbreak in RC Congo broke out in 2017 but was quickly contained due to timely alert and joint efforts by the government, WHO, and other worldwide partners.

Africa's most populous country is taking no chances and Health Minister Isaac Adewole told CNN that people traveling from the Central Africa country where 17 people are suspected to have died from the viral hemorrhagic fever, will undergo temperature screening at all borders of the country.

The Federal Ministry of Health is to step up emergency surveillance at all land borders and airports after laboratory testing confirmed two of five hemorrhagic fever infections in the DRC as Ebola. Soon, health-care workers and those who touched the bodies of the dead were coming down with the virus themselves, and then passing it to others.

"We have strengthened the routine screening of travellers at JKIA and as well as all the entry points into the country totaling 43, in all these places", the CS said.

Most of the cases so far have been recorded around the village of Ikoko Impenge, near the northwestern town of Bikoro.

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World Health Organization now has a team on the ground along with partner Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and will invole an additional team of between 20-40 specialists in epidemiology, logistics, contact-tracing, and vaccination programmes, in the coming days.

To date, the outbreak is reported in a remote area and appears to be geographically limited. "This situation worries us and requires an immediate and energetic response". The WHO has already released $1 million from its contingency fund, and Wellcome Trust and the United Kingdom government have pledged £3 million ($4.1 million).

There have been several recorded outbreaks of Ebola since its discovery in the early 1970s - all but one have been small.

Dr. Peter Salama, a top World Health Organization official, says that the WHO is preparing for a "worst case scenario" in the 2018 Ebola outbreak. "A standby ambulance with a driver and relevant protective gear has been provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is available twenty four-seven", Dr Mwebesa said in a press statement. The $252 million in cuts proposed by Trump is the amount remaining in that Obama-era package, according to a report in The Atlantic magazine - leaving nothing specifically allocated to deal with any future Ebola epidemic. The side effects were mostly mild. The virus is also spread through sexual contact. "This is a highly complex sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on earth", he said.

The VSV-EBOV vaccine, developed in Canada and licensed by NewLink Genetics and Merck, was shown to be highly effective in a ring vaccination trial in Guinea during West Africa's outbreak.

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