The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has placed Nigeria at a “moderate risk” level of experiencing another Ebola outbreak.
The designation was made public in a health advisory signed by Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, on Thursday following the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea.
According to the centre, it placed Nigeria at moderate risk due to its proximity to Guinea after the Ebola outbreak was declared in the West African country on 14 February.
It stated that it has activated its existing multisectoral group, which coordinates efforts in preparing for the outbreak of emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases in the country.
The advisory read: “The NCDC has an existing multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG). This group coordinates preparedness efforts for EVD and other emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases. The EVHDWG has carried out a risk assessment on the possibility of transmission of the virus to Nigeria. 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.
Several measures have been put in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of a potential EVD outbreak in Nigeria. A National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) operating from NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) 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.
“The Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has scaled up screening at points of entry. The NCDC will also scale up risk communications and other activities.”
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had earlier in February announced that it is enhancing surveillance at points of entry into Nigeria to respond to the recent Ebola outbreak in neighbouring countries.