Project Director, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Professor Abdulsalami Nasidi has called on all Nigerians to be proactive in preventing Ebola, a deadly disease that is without cure or vaccine, which he described as a time bomb.
Professor Nasidi gave the charge in a lecture entitled “The Perpetual Challenge of Emerging Viral Infections to Global Health: Nigerian Experience”, which he delivered in honour of Professor David Olaleye, a foremost virologist who turned 60.
He said people should report anybody that travels into Nigeria from countries where ebola fever is now experienced, who developed fever to a medical centre.
The expert, noting that the disease was best prevented from getting into Nigeria, stated that in the last seven months, deaths from Ebola fever was about 80 per cent of all recorded deaths in East Africa.
Professor Nasidi urged that the viral disease should not be allowed to take Nigeria by surprise said that Ebola fever kills between 50 and 90 per cent of its victims.
“Before 2013, there had never been an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. But it appeared in West Africa in epidemic proportion. This is the first time Ebola is occurring in more than one spot and it vast spatial distribution with this period is very frightening.
Dr Nasidi, who noted that despite most leading centres now in Africa to fight the disease, linked the increasing outbreak of Ebola fever cases in West Africa to Africa’s weak health system.
“In some situations, the health system had collapsed and was unable to cope,” he declared.
He added that Ebola disease was been fuelled in Africa by such factors as poor technical competency; community resistance, strong traditional beliefs and cultural practices as well as fear and panic among population and health workers.
The expert while highlighting the need to strengthen medical laboratories in the country to ensure early and correct diagnosis of Ebola virus said Nigerians should not panic because of the disease.
According to him, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had set up six treatment centres in different parts of the country to be able to respond promptly in case it occurs.
Emeritus Professor Ayodele Falase, the chairman at the event said Ebola fever, was a disease that could also depopulate the health sector in Nigeria, adding that it was a death sentence.
At the event were Professor Isaac Adewole, Vice Chancellor University of Ibadan and the acting Provost, College of Medicine, Professor Remi Ogunseinde eulogising, Professor Olaleye, who they said was a mentor, great researcher and clinician.