Nigerian authorities have raised alert level for Ebola after reported deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo were linked to the Ebola viral haemorrhagic fever.
The health ministry is to step up emergency surveillance at all land and airport border after laboratory testing confirmed two of five haemorrhagic fever infections in the DRC as Ebola.
Officials will also screen incoming passengers, with special emphasis on passengers from the DRC and neighbouring countries.
The ministry will also reactive the emergency operations centre, the reporting-and-central-command structure it deployed to contain Nigeria’s first-ever encounter with Ebola in 2014.
The centre also helped contingents from Nigeria deal with the outbreak in the three most affected countries—Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
“We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares,” said health minister Isaac Adewole in comments after the Federal Executive Council met on Wednesday.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is to send out a contingent to help build DRC’s capacity to respond to the outbreak.
At least 17 people have died in an area of northwestern DRC where health officials have now confirmed an outbreak of Ebola.
The outbreak is the ninth recorded in DRC. The virus is named after a river in the east of the country where it was first discovered in the 1970s. The last outbreak there killed eight people.
In the outbreak, the virus entered Nigeria after a Liberian-American Charles Sawyer flew into Lagos, carrying the virus.
At least 20 people were eventually infected and eight died.
Across West Africa, more than 20,000 were infected and nearly 11,000 died.