Nigeria at risk of Marburg importation -NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has said Nigeria is at moderate risk of the importation and impact of the Marburg virus.

Speaking days after Ghanaian authorities announced the death of two patients who were diagnosed with the virus, the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa said Nigeria is at risk due to its proximity, high traffic from Ghana and countries that share borders with Ghana.

Adetifa explained that while there are no cases of the Marburg virus in Nigeria at the moment, several measures are being put in place to prevent an outbreak in future.

He said the NCDC is on high alert, adding that 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.

Adetifa revealed that diagnostic capacity can be scaled up to other laboratories if required as Nigeria has the resources (human, technical and laboratory) for prompt identification and management in the event of a single imported case.

He said; “Based on available data, the overall risk of both importations 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 the 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.”

Marburg virus causes a rare, highly infectious disease and severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates just like the Ebola virus.

The virus can be transmitted by exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies, which carry the pathogen.

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