The House of Representatives has raised the alarm over the possibility of the Ebola virus returning to Nigeria, urging the Federal Government to immediately activate preventive measures.
Members of the House, at the plenary on Thursday, unanimously adopted a motion moved by one of them, Dachung Bagos, who warned that the virus might spread to Nigeria as other African countries had been recording Ebola cases.
It was titled ‘Motion of Urgent Public Importance on the Need for Federal Government to Activate Response against the Possible Detection of Ebola in Nigeria.’
Bagos noted that the Ugandan health authorities, on September 20, 2022, declared an outbreak of Ebola disease, caused by the Sudan virus, following laboratory confirmation of a patient from a village in Madudu sub-county, Mubende District, Central Uganda.
The lawmaker also noted that the World Health Organisation expressed concerns that in the absence of licensed vaccines and therapeutics for prevention and treatment of Sudan virus disease, the risk of potential serious public health impact is high.
According to him, investigations are ongoing to determine the scope of the outbreak and the possibility of spreading. “Importation of cases to neighbouring countries cannot be ruled out at this stage,” he stated.
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Bagos further said, “According to the information currently available, the overall risk has been assessed as high at national level considering the confirmed Sudan virus and the lack of an authorised vaccine, the possibility that the event started three weeks before the identification of the index case and several transmission chains have not been tracked.
“The House is worried that the Ebola virus is giving a lot of people concern around the world, as it was the variant that gave a lot of infections and fatalities in some countries.
“The House is concerned that Nigeria has reason to be warier at the moment as the deadly Ebola virus can get into Nigeria through our borders or travellers coming into Nigeria for business or any reason and could become dominant if unchecked.”
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Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Federal Ministry of Health to “immediately activate strategies to be implemented in monitoring adherence to Ebola guidelines and ensure residents continue to comply with all advisories aimed at curtailing the likely development of the virus in Nigeria.”
The lawmakers also mandated the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to ensure intensive observation and check on travel protocols for inbound passengers from red flag countries.
They further mandated the NCDC to set up a national response to control the likely emergence and spread of the Ebola virus in order to spare Nigerians the brunt of the pandemic.