A Medical Virologist, Dr. Deborah Ehichioya, has provided more insight into the Ebola virus and advised Nigerians on embracing the healthy lifestyle as a way to combat the virus and reduce its devastating effect.
The doctor, who was part of the team that worked on the specimen of the Liberian, Mr Sawyer, who died of the Ebola virus in Nigeria in July, was on the Thursday edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily to speak about ways of preventing and managing the disease.
Having explained the processes involved in discovering the virus from the suspected specimen of the late Liberian, she reiterated that once the infection sets in and is replicated on the rest of the body system, then definitely one can contract it if in contact with body fluids.
She, however, noted that the incubation period of 2 to 21 days depends on the individual carrier’s level of immunity as it is possible to get symptoms as early as the first two days of infection if the immunity of the carrier is already compromised. The implication of this is that the disease can be spread through such persons much faster.
Dr. Ehichioya stated that the most important thing would be to start surveillance immediately anyone comes in contact with a confirmed victim of the virus, adding also that the process of isolation requires that the patients are constantly tested.
On what to do when one is aware that he may have been in contact with the virus, Dr. Ehichioya advised that one checks into an hospital voluntarily and reveal the type of contact, how long ago the contact was made and be ready to be quarantined, as such person, ideally, should not be allowed to go out again.
She added that a strong immune system has been proven to be a good way for the human body to combat any virus and Nigerians should embrace the healthy lifestyle to boost their immunity. She recommended healthy diet, exercise, staying away from alcohol and tobacco, as ways to boost one’s immunity as this would stretch the incubation period for the virus and give the infected person the grace of more time to be treated before falling ill.[eap_ad_2]
On the chances of having more survivors, she explained that Intensive Supportive Care is a process of treating, individually, the different symptoms like vomiting, fever and diarrhea, that show up on the patients as a result of the Ebola infection and this has been the only process that has led to the survival of some lucky patients.
Referring to the Ebola virus as a Level 4 pathogen, which some Nigerian medical facilities have the capacity to detect, based on the experiences of handling the similar Lassa virus, she said that Nigeria only needs to upgrade some of its medical facilities to be able to deal with the Ebola virus.
She, however, did not rule out the possibility of the unapproved ZMapp being the solution to the virus, but also reiterated the need for the country to beef up the capacity of its special disease control centres to be able to handle situations like the Ebola.
She asked for the help of all Nigerians to combat the virus as medical practitioners cannot do it without the support of the citizens through better communication, prompt reporting of contacts and suspected cases, adherence to safety precautions, and avoidance of alarming or hyped messages capable of causing panic.
She also urged Nigerians to pray as Ebola is “a plague that God can take out” of the land.Dr. Deborah Ehichioya is the Head of Virology Unit of the World Bank funded African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at the Redeemers’ University.[eap_ad_3]