Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ebola fear in Nigeria happens to be dengue fever

The Federal Ministry of Health has asserted that laboratory investigations have shown that there was outbreak of dengue haemorrhagic fever in Nigeria and not of the feared Ebola virus as widely reported.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja Tuesday, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Khaliru Alhassan, said the alleged outbreak of Ebola fever in the country was false and misplaced.

"As a follow-up of a report in a section of the media of an outbreak of Ebola disease in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that laboratory investigation has revealed that it is not Ebola, but dengue haemorrhagic fever," he added.

"This has been reported wrongly. Dengue fever is caused by a virus, which is usually transmitted through a particular type of mosquito, not the normal Anopheles mosquito that we know which transmits malaria, but another kind of mosquito known as Aedes albopictus.

"Its (Dengue haemorrhagic fever) symptoms are very similar to that of malaria; that is, you get fever, you get headache, you get body pains and of course it may be associated with vomiting."

Alhassan added that dengue fever could cause bleeding gums, bloody diarrhoea, nose bleeding, severe pains in the eyes as well as red palms and soles.

According to him, the activities of the mosquito that transmits the virus are being closely monitored nationwide by the Enugu-based Arbovirus Research Centre of the ministry.

He urged the public to keep the environment clean always, saying that the ministry had intensified surveillance on the disease with all the state ministries alerted.

He added that all the airport health posts and border medical centres in the country had been put on alert and directed to screen travellers from countries with confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

The minister advised Nigerians travelling to countries with proven cases of Ebola virus to be careful and to report any illness with symptoms such as sore throat, fever, dry and hacking cough. He added that illnesses with weakness, severe headache, joint and muscle aches, diarrhoea, dehydration, stomach pain, and vomiting as symptoms should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

"Any suspected case should be reported to the nearest health facility including general hospital, federal medical centre or teaching hospitals where non-specific and symptomatic drugs against this disease have been prepositioned."


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