Abuja - United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) hailed the country’s containment of the Ebola virus as a “success story” worth emulating by other countries.
“This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained. The story of how Nigeria ended what many believed to be potentially the most explosive Ebola outbreak imaginable is worth telling in detail. Such a story can help the many other developing countries that are deeply worried by the prospect of an imported Ebola case and eager to improve their preparedness plans. Many wealthy countries, with outstanding health systems, may have something to learn as well,” the agency stated on Monday.
It came on the heels of the UN health agency declared Nigeria Ebola-free.
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While Senegal also received a clean bill of health earlier, WHO singled Nigeria out for praise.
“The complete story also illustrates how Nigeria has come so close to the successful interruption of wild poliovirus transmission from its vast and densely-populated territory,” WHO added.
WHO hailed the country’s “strong leadership” and effective coordination of the response.
“The Nigerian response to the outbreak was greatly aided by the rapid utilization of a national public institution (NCDC) and the prompt establishment of an Emergency Operations Centre, supported by the Disease Prevention and Control Cluster within the WHO country office.”
WHO said another key asset was the country’s first-rate virology laboratory affiliated with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
That laboratory was staffed and equipped to quickly and reliably diagnose a case of Ebola virus disease, which ensured that containment measures could begin with the shortest possible delay.
“Today, exactly 42 days (twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola virus disease) after the country’s last infectious contact with a confirmed or probable case occurred, the chains of transmission have been broken. The virus is gone – for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated.”
The Ebola virus entered Lagos on July 20 via an infected Liberian air traveller, who died five days later.
The virus entered the country’s oil hub, Port Harcourt, on August 1, when a close contact of the index case flew there seeking care from a private physician.
The doctor developed symptoms on 10 August and died of Ebola on August 23. Laboratory tests confirmed the city’s first case on 27 August.