By Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has advised Nigerians to protect themselves against the new Chinese coronavirus disease.
First identified by Chinese researchers with the pathogen behind a mysterious illness that had sickened 59 people in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Central China, coronavirus is a group of viruses common among animals but now confirmed that it could also infect humans.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, therefore, in a public health advisory on Wednesday, stated that the sypmptoms of the new coronavirus 2019nCoV appeared to cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like cough and breathing difficulties.
He noted that “from current evidence, it appears that death is a rare outcome, mostly in patients with underlying illness.”
Ihekweazu explained in the advisory that there was no specific treatment for disease caused by the novel coronavirus yet, but many of the symptoms could be treated.
He stated that “treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition. In addition, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.”
The NCDC boss, who noted that the centre was currently coordinating a multisectoral technical group in assessing and managing the risk of importing the virus to Nigeria, said “NCDC is in close communication with World Health Organisation (WHO) which is closely monitoring the situation globally. “
He added that while the Port Health Services unit of Federal Ministry of Health had been placed on alert and had heightened screening measures at points of entry, Nigerians could maintain some simple hygiene measures to keep safe.
He advised Nigerians to adhere to the following measures to protect themselves:
• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water
• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.
• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms
• Healthcare workers should always observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history. (NAN)