The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has directed the Federal Ministry to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders in the country.
Minister of Health, Isaac Adewale, told journalists on Wednesday after the FEC meeting that, this measure is to keep Nigerians safe from Ebola outbreak which is currently in Congo.
“Of great concern to the Federal Executive Council is the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo. Over the last one month, DRC recorded 19 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever and lost 16 of the cases.
“On Monday, blood samples from five patients in the DRC, particularly in a particular district in DRC, two of the five cases, Ebola was actually confirmed.
“FEC has now directed the Federal Ministry of help to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders so that we can actually keep Nigerians safe,” he said.
Speaking further about the virus, Adewole said an emergency operation center will be set up and visitors to Nigeria, especially Congo, will be screened thoroughly.
“What we will do is to set up an emergency operation center which will be chaired by Dr Babasanya, who actually led our efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea during the outbreak in 2014.
“Not only that, we will be screening incoming passengers, particularly passengers from DRC and neighbouring countries. We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares,” he added.
The FEC also agreed that Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will consider sending some team to DRC as part of building capacity for managing the outbreak.
“We want to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is concerned about the outbreak and will do everything possible to keep the country safe,” he said.
According to health officials, 17 people have died in an area of northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo where an outbreak of Ebola has been confirmed.
This recent outbreak is DRC’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976 when the deadly viral disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team.
In Nigeria, Ebola outbreak was experienced in 2014. This led to the deaths of many including Dr. Stella Adedavoh, a physician credited to have curbed a wider spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria.