The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has released guidelines to stop an outbreak in Nigeria shortly after Ghana’s confirmation of the fatal Marburg virus disease this July when two patients who later died tested positive for the virus. Given that Ghana and other West African nations share maritime borders with Nigeria, which is currently estimated to have a moderate effect on the population, it is advised that strong preventative steps be taken. To keep it out, a workable, strategic, and all-encompassing plan should be implemented.
The Marburg virus, which is similar to Ebola and was first discovered in Guinea in 2021, is a highly contagious illness that produces hemorrhagic fever and has an average fatality ratio of up to 50%, depending on the strain and case care. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recorded an initial outbreak in Europe with a mortality rate of 24%, but later outbreaks showed extraordinarily high case fatality rates in two African nations: 83% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 88%). Even worse, it has been determined that MVD is challenging to diagnose clinically.
Numerous MVD symptoms are also seen in conditions like malaria, typhoid, or viral hemorrhagic fevers like Lassa fever. The World Health Organization proposes unprotected contact with infected bat feces or aerosols as the most likely route for the Marburg virus to first infect people, despite the fact that the exact mechanism by which this happened is still unknown.
The virus spreads through direct contact with broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth; with blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and amniotic fluid) of a person who is sick with, or has died from, MVD; or with objects that have been contaminated with body fluids from a person who is sick with, or has died from the disease. These findings come from studies by the United States Center These include things like clothing, blankets, syringes, and medical supplies.
Additionally, MVD can be sexually transferred through a man’s recovered semen. Even if a patient no longer exhibits symptoms of a serious illness, it may still be present in some body fluids. It has a two- to 21-day incubation period, a fast onset of symptoms including fever, chills, headache, and myalgia, as well as other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea.
Jaundice, pancreatic inflammation, extreme weight loss, disorientation, shock, liver failure, extensive bleeding, and multiple organ malfunction are further symptoms. Early supportive care combined with symptomatic therapy and rehydration increases survival. According to the WHO, a variety of blood products, immune therapies, and drug therapies are currently being developed. However, there is currently no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus. To stop this fatal virus from entering the nation, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), as well as the federal and state health ministries should take swift action.
Ghana’s health authorities have put in place procedures to stop the spread of the disease, and they have received praise for their quick response to the MVD outbreak, according to Reuters.
Although no cases of the Marburg virus disease have been detected in Nigeria, the NCDC Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa, stated that “various steps are being put in place to prevent an outbreak in-country.” The point-of-entry surveillance had been increased, he said, and “trained rapid response teams are on standby to be dispatched in the event of an outbreak and the NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre is in alert mode.” He said that the National Reference Laboratory has the capacity to test for MVD. It is important to carry out these actions as directed.
Nigeria cannot afford to host the deadly MVD because it is currently dealing with a number of other infectious diseases. In the nation, there have already been 847 confirmed cases of Lassa fever, which are spread out among 24 states and 99 local government districts.
According to the NCDC’s week 28 monkeypox situation report, the number of verified cases has climbed to 117 from 101, and there are currently no fewer than 338 suspected cases across the nation. In 2022, 31 states have reported possible cholera cases. Nigeria reported 3157 fatalities and 257,637 confirmed cases of COVID-19 between January 3, 2020, and July 5, 2022. According to data from the WHO and NCDC, illnesses increased by 67 percent in the first few days of July.
Unfortunately, this is all happening at a time when the nation’s health sector is seeing a terrifying brain drain. The state governors are excessively focused on politics, allocating money to the 2023 elections while neglecting the general public’s health, leaving primary health centers in a terrible state. According to the Nigerian Medical Association, more than half of registered medical practitioners have left the country in search of better opportunities abroad. “If you go to 90–99 percent of our hospitals, we don’t have virologists because there is no provision for them to practice,” said Clement Mboto, president of the Nigerian Society for Virology. We number only 200 people nationwide. This is unfortunate.
Government organizations should adequately inform the public and raise awareness among both people and groups about the dangers of fruit bats and ill non-human primates. By avoiding direct physical contact with patients or excretions from patients suspected of having MVD, precautions should be made to prevent the virus from spreading from one person to another. Individuals, religious institutions, organizations, and corporate entities should abide by safety regulations, which include donning masks, gloves, and protective gowns.
Patients should be kept strictly segregated to stop the spread of the Marburg virus and public health officials should be informed of any symptoms of MVD and potential exposure. In order to confirm cases of MVD, all hospitals and health facilities across the nation should be furnished with laboratory tools like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing.
To prevent cross-border diseases, the nation’s porous borders should be efficiently patrolled and unauthorized movement of persons and goods properly regulated. Increased surveillance is needed in states that share borders with other nations. To stop a Marburg pandemic, the federal and state governments should work together. It might also interest you to read Elon Musk’s secret affair with wife of a Google co-founder
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