Barely two months after the World Health Organisation (WHO), had on May 9, declared Liberia Ebola-free, the West African country, Tuesday, reported a second fatal case of the deadly virus, prompting an alert by the Federal Government, Wednesday, warning Nigerians to take precautions and adhere to hygienic and other preventive measures against the deadly virus.
It would be recalled that last August, a Liberian national, Patrick Sawyer, introduced the deadly disease into the country resulting in the infection of 19 persons with seven fatalities.
According to reports from Liberia, a 17-year-old boy died on Sunday in Nedowein, a village near the country’s international airport, 30 kilometres, south of the capital Monrovia.
He was believed to have had no history of travelling out of Liberia and no history of coming into contact with any known Ebola case.
Reacting to the development, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, said on Wednesday that though there was need for awareness, there was no cause for alarm.
In a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mrs. Ayo Adesugba, Awute said: “Nigerians should not panic but must be aware and vigilant. Members of the public are advised to observe basic hygiene and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility.
“It must be noted that the main symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease are fever, severe headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Patients in some cases, also have neurological symptoms of becoming confused and restless.”
He added: “In order to address the challenges of the developments in neighbouring Liberia, the Federal Ministry of Health is reactivating its response mechanism and increasing the level of its alert.”
He directed all state Ministries of Health and health facilities nationwide to raise their alert level and report any suspected case to the Federal Ministry of Health.
According to the health ministry, “The resurgence of the Ebola virus in Liberia confirms that the disease is still circulating in that country and transmission from person-to-person is possible.”
The new cases have raised anxiety across the globe, placing Liberia once again on the radar of global health authorities.
There were also fears that a resurgence of Ebola in Nigeria may spell doom, given the challenging economic environment in the country.