NCDC Warns Nigerians About Marburg Virus in Ghana

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has warned Nigerians to be on high alert for the Marburg Virus detected in West African neighbour, Ghana.

The NCDC urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to preventive measures like avoiding non-essential travel to locations where the outbreak is reported for the moment; avoiding direct contact with blood, saliva, vomit, urine, and other bodily fluids of people with suspected or confirmed Marburg virus disease; and avoiding the animal reservoir (fruit bats), other sick animals.

Other measures include ensuring all persons with the symptoms described above are promptly taken to healthcare facilities for diagnosis and initiation of supportive treatment; in suspected and/or confirmed MVD cases, direct physical contact should be avoided by ensuring strict isolation, the use of protective gowns, masks, gloves and safe disposal of needles, bedding, and other contaminated materials; the strict practice of infection prevention control in the healthcare setting for all suspected patients.

The health authority also warned that male survivors of Marburg virus disease should practise safer sex and hygiene for 12 months from the onset of symptoms or until their semen tests negative twice for the virus.

This is coming after the outbreak in Ghana was confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday and represents the second time the virus will be detected in West Africa. It was detected in Guinea in August 2021.

“Given the proximity of Ghana to Nigeria as well as the WHO alert, the NCDC-led multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG) that coordinates preparedness efforts for MVD, and other emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities,” NCDC Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said in a statement.

It was revealed that Nigeria has the capacity to test for the disease that was first discovered in 1967 after outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany.

The virus can currently be tested at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology.

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