The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Nigeria is at a “moderate risk” of a fresh outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had certified Nigeria free of the disease on October 20, 2014, after Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian imported the disease to the country.
The virus had claimed lives in Nigeria, including that of Dr Stella Adadevoh, who treated Sawyer and prevented him from leaving the Lagos hospital where he was admitted.
In an update on its website, NCDC said a fresh outbreak of the disease is likely owing to the proximity of Nigeria to Guinea, where there are currently Ebola cases.
The NCDC said it has an existing multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG), which coordinates preparedness efforts for viral haemorrhagic diseases.
“The EVHDWG has carried out a risk assessment on the possibility of transmission of the virus to Nigeria,” NCDC said in its update.
“Given the proximity of Guinea to Nigeria and other West African countries as well as other indicators, Nigeria has been placed at moderate risk of an EVD outbreak.
“The outputs from this risk assessment are being used to initiate preparedness activities in-country.
The agency assured that several measures had been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
“A National Emergency Operations Centre operating from NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre is on alert mode.
“We have a team of first responders on standby, ready to be deployed within 24 hours in the event of an EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
“We have also established testing capacity for EVD at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory. The NCDC will continue working with states to strengthen preparedness activities across the country.”
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, assured Nigerians that the agency is monitoring developments closely.
He said the NCDC will work with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to develop a clear plan for accessing Ebola vaccines.
“The NCDC will continue to monitor the situation and initiate preparedness activities across the country.
“We are in close contact with WHO, ACDC and WAHO for cross-border coordination. We urge members of the public to remain aware of the risks and adhere to all safety measures.
“The NCDC remains fully committed to protecting the health of all Nigerians from infectious disease threats,” he said.
The development comes at a time Nigeria is in the thick of COVID-19 outbreak. The country has hit the 150,000 mark of Coronavirus cases.