The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) says Nigeria is at moderate risk of the importation and impact of the Marburg virus ( MVD).
In a statement on Wednesday, the Director General of NCDC , Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, said this is based on the organization’s assessment following the outbreak in Ghana.
The Marburg virus causes a rare, highly infectious disease and severe haemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates just like the Ebola virus.
Dr Adetifa said, “Based on available data, the overall risk of both importation of the disease and its potential impact on the Nigerian population is said to be moderate as assessed by NCDC experts and partners given the following:
“The proximity (same region), high traffic from Ghana and countries that share borders with Ghana, the incubation period of 21 days of the virus, heightened surveillance at point of entry, Nigeria’s capacity to respond to the outbreak in country and the fact that persons with MVD transmit the virus when they become symptomatic unlike for SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 that can also be transmitted by infected persons without symptoms.”
He said there was currently, no case of Marburg virus in Nigeria, adding that several measures are being put in place to prevent an outbreak of the disease in-country.
While saying that NCDC is on high alert, he said Nigeria has the capacity to test for the virus presently at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology.
He said diagnostic capacity can be scaled up to other laboratories if required as Nigeria had the resources (human, technical and laboratory) for prompt identification and management in the event of a single imported case.
However, he said the risk of importation may be further reduced as the current situation in Ghana is under control as reported by Ghana Health Service.
According to him, point of entry surveillance has been heightened, trained rapid response teams are on standby to be deployed in the event of an outbreak and the NCDC’s Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) is on alert mode.
He said the NCDC is also amplifying risk communication efforts and continues to work with states and partners to strengthen preparedness activities which include– review of risk communication protocols, plans and messages in the event of an outbreak.
He advised Nigerians to avoid non-essential travel to locations where the outbreak is reported for the moment, and also avoid direct contact with blood, saliva, vomit, urine, and other bodily fluids of people with suspected or confirmed Marburg virus.
The outbreak in Ghana is the second incidence of the virus in West Africa following the previous incidence in Guinea in August 2021.
The disease was first discovered in 1967 following outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia.
Since then, outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in some African countries.