Expert attributes Ebola spread to liberalisation of movement

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ABUJA – An expert, Prof. Martins Emeje, on Friday attributed Ebola’s entry into the country to the liberalisation of movement among West African nations.

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Emeje, Head, Advanced Biology and Chemistry, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the disease was not spread as a result of failure in the health sector.

Emeje is a member of the Treatment Research Committee on Ebola set up by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, to produce a vaccine to eliminate the virus.

According to him, as Africans, we are our brother’s keeper and Nigeria could not have stopped a fellow West African from entering our country.

“It’s not as if we have problem with the health sector that is why Ebola came. No, you can see it is purely political.

“I say political because as far as we are concerned, we are neighbours and you know there is a liberalisation of movement in West Africa. [eap_ad_1] “As an ECOWAS citizen, you move from one country to another, therefore, it couldn’t have been possible to stop somebody from coming from Liberia to Nigeria,’’ he said.

Emeje, drawing a line of difference between Ebola virus and other diseases like malaria, described Ebola as a disease that uses the human as the vector (host to spread the virus) unlike malaria.

“Humans are not vectors of malaria but rather have a vector called mosquitoes that spread the disease.

“If I have malaria and go to a country where there are no mosquitoes, I cannot give it to someone.

“The reason is that there is a need for mosquitoes to take it from me to the other person.

“Ebola is not like that. Ebola is a viral infectious disease that is contracted by contact.

“Therefore, if somebody has Ebola, and he is at the stage of the virus we call symptomatic `where he is already shedding the virus in the system’, it can now be contagious.

“From this stage, if he gets in contact with another person, then there is a high possibility that the person will contract the infection,’’ he said.

However, the scientist was optimistic that just as malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases have become none issues today, Ebola also would be “conquered”.

According to Emeje, Nigeria has the capability, capacity and the human resources to come up with solutions given the right political will. (NAN)

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