NCDC’s Director-General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, in a release, said that Nigeria’s overall risk of Marburg virus disease is moderate based on the rapid risk assessment of the disease by the NCDC-led multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Hemorrhagic Diseases Working Group (EVHDWG).
He added, “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.”
To this end, the agency has directed citizens to conduct test for the virus at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital Laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology.
The NCDC boss said no case of Marburg virus disease has been reported in Nigeria but several measures are being put in place to prevent an outbreak of the disease in-country, including the heightening of surveillance at point of entry and the trained rapid response teams on standby in the event of an outbreak.
He said Nigeria has the resources (human, technical and laboratory) for prompt identification and management of Marburg virus disease in the event of a single imported case.
The Marburg virus causes a rare, highly infectious disease and severe hemorrhagic fever (MVD) in humans and non-human primates just like the Ebola virus. It is another example of a zoonosis such as Lassa fever, etc
The natural animal reservoir/host is fruit bats. Following the transmission from infected animals to humans, it spreads in humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, and contaminated materials and surfaces.
The virus can enter the body through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The initial symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, body aches which may be accompanied by a rash, most prominent on the chest, back and stomach, nausea/vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain by the fifth day of illness.