Lagos - Medical experts on Tuesday advised Nigerians and government at all levels to sustain the preventive measures put in place to combat the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
They gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos against the background of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration that Nigeria had to some extend contained the virus.
WHO says: "The outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained."
NAN also reports that the Federal Ministry of Health reported that there has not been any new case of EVD in the last 15 days.
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"Since the outbreak of the disease, Nigeria recorded 19 confirmed cases (15 in Lagos and 4 in Port Harcourt) and seven deaths," it said.
In his comment, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, a virologist with WHO, advised Nigerians to sustain the hand cleaning routine as Nigeria was not yet totally free of EVD.
"I really commend the Federal and State Governments for their efforts in curbing Ebola virus in the country, but we have to sustain those efforts.
"So long there are still cases of Ebola virus in our neighbouring countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - we are not out of the woods yet because another Patrick Sawyer can still come into the country.
"Nigerians should not also relax. We have to continue to practice proper hygiene, especially hand cleaning in everything we do,’" he advised.
Also, Dr Dan Onwujekwe, a public health expert with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, urged Nigerians to see regular hand cleaning routine as a way of life.
Onwujekwe said that hand cleaning routine was not for the prevention of EVD, but for the prevention of other infectious diseases.
"We lay emphasis on hand washing hygiene because the hand is the most active part of human body. It goes round and can carry viral organisms around and into the body.
"Government at all levels should also intensify awareness and promotion of regular hand washing as the number one strategy.
"Proper hand washing is very important in that it is able to inactivate viral organisms,’’ he said.
In his remark, Dr Bamidele Oke, another virologist, who works with NIMR, said that there was still risk of cross-border transmission from the high risk countries.
"While some people are still on surveillance in Port-Harcourt, and we have not had new cases in recent days, we should not relent in monitoring and surveillance of the disease.
"Moreover, Ebola virus was imported to Nigeria and it is not endemic.
"We still need to maintain strict surveillance at our borders because there are still cases of Ebola virus in other neighbouring countries," he said.
Another expert, Dr Philip Oshun, Head, Ebola Response Team, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, urged Nigerians to continue to maintain strict hygiene practices to fight against any infectious disease.
"Although, there are no new known cases of Ebola virus, there are, however, contacts in Port Harcourt still under surveillance.
"Nigerians should continue to take precaution and not be pre-emptive in thinking that the threat has been eliminated," he said.
NAN reports that the Lagos State Government had on Friday said the last suspected case of the EVD in the state had been cleared having tested negative after surveillance.