NCDC issues public health advisory following declaration of Ebola outbreak in Uganda

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory following the declaration of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in Uganda.

The advisory is contained in a statement issued by the Director-General, of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, on Monday.

NAN reports that as of Oct.29, 2022, the Uganda Ministry of Health had reported 128 confirmed cases and 34 deaths.

Adetifa said that the agency has been aware of the ongoing outbreak of the Sudan strain Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Uganda since it was first officially declared on September 20, 2022.

He said that the agency, through the National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Technical Working Group, met on September 26, 2022, to assess the risk of importation of EVD to Nigeria and the potential impact to inform in-country preparedness activities.

“Based on available data and risk assessment conducted, Nigeria is at HIGH risk of importation of the virus.

“This risk is due to the large volume of air travel between Nigeria and Uganda and the mixing of passengers, especially at the regional travel hubs of Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Kigali airports and the additional risk from other neighbouring countries that share a direct border with Uganda should case arise in other countries in the region,” he explained.

The NCDC DG said that the outputs from this risk assessment were being used to initiate preparedness activities in-country.

“Several measures have been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria. The NCDC Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) is now in alert mode.

“Development of an incident action plan for the first few cases of EVD has commenced. Point of Entry (POE), surveillance has been heightened using the passenger pre-boarding health declaration and screening form in the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) platform.

“Passengers arriving from Uganda and persons who transited in Uganda are being followed up for 21 days after they arrived in Nigeria for their health status.

“Trained Rapid Response Teams are on standby to be deployed in the event of an outbreak.

“All State Public Health Emergency Operations Centres (PHEOCs) are in alert mode. A medical countermeasures plan is available.

“Amplification of risk communication and engagement with states and partners to strengthen preparedness activities which include– a review of risk communication protocols, plans, and messages in the event of an outbreak.

“Nigeria has an active infection prevention and control (IPC) programme nationwide with guidelines and training packages developed for healthcare workers,” he highlighted.

NAN reports that the Ebola virus can be transmitted via direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD.

The virus can enter the body stream through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

This can also be spread through contact with objects contaminated by infected persons as well as direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats, monkeys, or chimpanzees.

Just like other types of Ebola virus, people infected with the Sudan strain cannot spread the disease until the development of symptoms.

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the virus but are typically 8 to 10 days on average. Symptoms include: Fever, Fatigue, Muscle pain, Headache Sore throat, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Rash, Impaired kidney and liver function, Internal and external bleeding.

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