A disease is an illness experienced by living things which is usually caused by infectious microscopic organisms such as pathogens, fungi, or virus as the case might be.

There are several diseases occurring the world over, most of which are frightening and deadly. Regarding the mode of transmission of these diseases, some of them are regarded as airborne, while some are known to be waterborne; on the other hand, some of them are referred to as sexually transmitted diseases.

Currently, the world has been placed in a confused state as a result of the recent outbreak of another deadly disease known as Ebola Virus Disease. The Ebola Virus Disease formerly addressed as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever is a disease caused by a virus popularly known as “Ebola”.

Generally, the viruses that cause the disease are classified into four namely:
Bundibugyo Virus, Sudan Virus, Tai Forest Virus, and one simply called Ebola Virus formerly referred to as Zaire Ebola Virus. Ebola Virus is the sole member of the Zaire Ebola-virus species, and the most dangerous of the known Ebola strains as well as being responsible for the largest number of outbreak.

The signs and symptoms of the dreaded and deadly Ebola usually begin two to 21 days after contracting the virus with a flu-like stage characterised by fatigue, fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, chest pain, muscle and abdominal pains, and headache. In advanced cases, symptoms like nausea influenza, vomiting, bleeding, diarrhoea, rashes, swelling of the skin, alongside decreased functioning of essential organs such as the liver and kidneys often follow suit.

In the case of bleeding, which typically starts five to seven days after initial symptoms, signs including redness of the eyes, bloody vomit, bleeding inside the skin known as hemorrhage, bloody coughs and faeces are usually noticed. In general, the development of bleeding and other advanced or complicated symptoms often indicate a worse prognosis thereby resulting to death of the patient/carrier due to multiple organ dysfunction syndromes.

The primary sources of the Ebola virus disease are monkeys, bats, pigs, apes, chimpanzees, and gorillas, just to mention but a few. Going by a recent research, it is widely noted that bat is the prime host of the Ebola virus due to its ability to live vigorously with the virus or while attacked by it. This singular fact has proved to us that everyone is liable to contract the disease since bat could be found in any part of the world, especially the African continent. Above all, it would be worthy to note that mosquito does not transmit the Ebola virus.

The EVD was first identified in 1976 in Sudan and the Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the average, the disease occurs in outbreaks in tropical regions of sub-Sahara Africa. According to reports, from 1976 to 2013, about 1,000 persons per year were infected with the virus; currently, the largest outbreak is the ongoing West Africa Ebola outbreak, which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia as well as Nigeria. As of August 2014, more than 1,750 suspected cases were reported.

The disease came into Nigeria in July 2014 through the 40-year-old Liberian-American, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, who was allegedly going to a conference in Nigeria, Calabar precisely, on July 20, 2014 through Asky Airline. Since the death of the foreigner on July 25, 2014, various cases of the Ebola virus disease have been recorded in the country starting from the doctors and nurses who attended to the deceased while he was taken to the hospital from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport when he collapsed upon arrival in Lagos.

A few weeks ago, it was confirmed by the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, that about 12 Nigerians were living with the virus while three had already been feared dead; coupled with the recent confirmation of a case of the disease in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Honestly, it is not yet entirely clear how this controversial plague is spread among mankind or animals. But it is believed that it is acquired upon contact with bodily fluids of an infected person/animal which include blood, sweat, saliva, sputum, urine, and semen. This implies that the disease could be transmitted through the three major modes of transmission of diseases namely: air, water, and sexual intercourse. The most devastating aspect of the disease is that it could be contracted by merely touching any part of the skin of the infected person.

Presently, a specific cure or vaccine for this virus that savages humanity has yet to be found; needless to say that, there is currently no specific treatment for the disease. Efforts to help those who are infected by the virus are supportive, and include giving either oral rehydration therapy or intravenous fluids. The disease has a very high mortality rate, often killing between 50 and 90 per cent of those infected with the virus.

Since it is clear that there is no absolute cure or vaccine for the virus, the only way it could be controlled is by observing a holistic preventive approach. Coupled with the ongoing measures being taken by the government, other severe routines are expected to follow suit.

In view of this, a thorough Ebola virus screening ought to be conducted at all the Nigerian international airports on every individual migrating to the country, irrespective of their status. The same measure is expected to be extended to all the borders in Nigeria, and the borders in question must also be thoroughly guarded by the authorities involved.

Secondly, government should set up a formidable team/agency that would monitor all the existing zoos in Nigeria, with the view of ensuring that proper gloves and other protective devices are worn by the entire management and staff of the establishments or anyone who wants to have direct contact with any of the animals.

In addition, individuals residing in various parts of the country are expected to help themselves in order to supplement the ongoing proactive and commendable effort of the government. Everyone, especially the health personnel, ought to ensure that appropriate protective clothing and devices are worn while on duty. Also, constant and adequate washing of hands with water and soap/detergent is meant to be observed by everybody regardless of occupation, age, or background. Also, constant washing of the entire body with soap and clean water at least twice in a day ought not to be exempted by all concerned.

More so, the caterers or all those who indulge in any form of cooking practices should endeavour to wash any raw meat properly with salt and water as well as ensure that they are adequately cooked. On the other hand, those who consume fruits or vegetables eaten/sucked by bats, birds, squirrels, and what have you, should as a matter of urgency desist from such act, and other related dirty acts.

Above all, the non-governmental organisations as well as various religious bodies should from time to time organise seminars, workshops and talk shops to sensitise the entire public to how they are meant to address the issue. The media community is not left out; it ought to ensure that apt jingles are consistently aired on their respective radio/television, while the members of the print media are expected to publish matters that would go a long way to educate their audience in respect of the disease’s sources, mode of transmission and so on.

The aforementioned preventive methods signify that all hands must be on deck towards ensuring that this dreaded and deadly Ebola Virus Disease is totally eradicated. I’m strongly of the view that Nigeria will surely come over this societal menace in no distant time if adequate and thorough preventive measures are duly taken, just as we were able to overcome that of bird flu.

Posted From iProdigy Group Nigeria(Dabibi Ori-ibim’s Blog).

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