Atiku took to his Twitter account to share precautionary measures Nigerians can take in order to prevent Lassa Fever and the Coronavirus. He tweeted;
Coronaviruses also known as CoV, are a group of viruses that is believed to have originated from animals such as bats and snakes. It causes respiratory infections in humans. The Other forms of the corona viruses are known as Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory syndrome (MERS).
In 2003, following the outbreak of severeSARSwhich had begun the prior year in Asia, and secondary cases elsewhere in the world, the (WHO) issued a press release stating that a novel coronavirus identified by a number of laboratories was the causative agent for SARS. The virus was officially named the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Over 8,000 people were infected, about 10% of whom died.
What are the symptoms?
It’s symptoms are respiratory symptoms such as common cold, cough and sore throat which are typically mild, but may RARELY BE LETHAL.
MERS-CoV on the other hand causes more severe infections like; respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, pneumonia and kidney failure. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 people reported with MERS have died
It can also cause diarrhea and body aches. Symptoms in severe cases include pneumonia, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization.
What treatments are recommended for this virus?
There is no approved vaccine is available for this virus.
What are the affected countries and regions?
China reported 688 new cases on Sunday from the previous day, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 1,975, including 56 deaths.
Three U.S. cases have been reported to date. The first U.S. case was reported on Jan. 21, in a Seattle-area man traveled to China and began experiencing symptoms a few days after returning home to Washington state on Jan. 15. The second case, a woman in Chicago, was confirmed Jan. 24. The third case, a patient in Orange County, Calif., was confirmed on Saturday.
Additional isolated cases have been identified in countries like Australia, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
How does it spread?
Health officials believe the virus can be passed from person to person via exchange of fluids from the respiratory tract, prolonged close contact with an infected person. Since it’s an Airborne disease it can easily be transferred from one person to another.
What is being done in Nigeria to curb the spread of the outbreak?
The Government of Nigeria through the National Lassa fever Consortium is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to contribute to progress for a Lassa fever vaccine. CEPI is a public-private coalition that aims to derail epidemics by speeding up the development of vaccines. Two-Phase I trials for a new Lassa fever vaccine have begun.
Before the end of the first quarter of 2020, NCDC and the three main treatment centres in the country-Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Federal Medical Centre Owo and Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital- will begin Lassa fever epidemiological studies. This will contribute greatly to the peoples understanding of the efficacy of vaccine candidates.
As regards CoV, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently coordinating a multisectoral technical group that is assessing and managing the risk of importation to Nigeria. NCDC is in close communication with the World Health Organization (WHO) who is closely monitoring the situation globally. WHO is in direct communication with the Government of China and other affected countries, and has released technical and travel guidance.
The Port Health Services unit of the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria has been placed on alert and has heightened screening measures at the points of entry. In China, exit screening measures have been enhanced for travellers from Wuhan city at the Points of Entry (PoE) (airports and ground transport stations) since the 14th of January, 2020. This includes temperature checks combined with provision of information and masks to passengers with fever, as well as directing symptomatic passengers to health facilities for follow up.
Nigerians are advised to remain calm. Travelers from Nigeria to Wuhan, China, are advised to avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets. Travelers from Wuhan to Nigeria, may be asked questions upon arrival by the Port Health Services unit at points of entry about symptoms of illness and travel history, and are advised to report immediately to NCDC if they feel ill after a trip to Wuhan.
The Federal Ministry of Health through NCDC and its partners are fully committed to strengthening our preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks. Information will be shared with the public as it becomes available.
How can you protect yourself?
To reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:
• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.
• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.
• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
• Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.
As the situation is evolving, this advisory will be updated as more information becomes available.