The Federal Ministry of Health today issued travel restriction to Latin America for pregnant women, as part of measures to prevent the deadly Zika virus infection now raging in the Americas.
A statement signed by the Director, Media /Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs.Boade Akinola, said the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has directed the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to include Zika virus diagnosis as part of ongoing effort to manage Lassa Fever outbreak in the country.
“Prof. Adewole, therefore urges Nigerians to be vigilant and report promptly any case of unexplained fever that is more than 48 hours, especially in those with recent travels to Latin America, to health care professionals. He also enjoined those working at various port of entry into the country to interview anyone coming from any of the Latin American countries for evidence Zika virus symptoms.
“In conclusion, the minister assures Nigerian that there is no single case of Zika virus infection in the country and there is no need to panic. The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation and update Nigerians of any other developments,” the statement said.
No fewer than 27 countries in the Americas have reported cases of Zika virus infection, which was first discovered in Brazil in 2014.
Researchers currently believe the Zika virus is spread mainly through mosquitoes. A mosquito bites an infected person, draws blood, and contracts the virus. When it then goes and bites another person, the virus spreads.
However, some studies have shown that mosquitoes may not be the only way to get the virus as some observational evidence from a couple of small studies have shown that people infected with Zika can pass on the virus to others through sexual intercourse. Zika can also be transmitted through blood. Also, mother-to-foetus transmission has been documented throughout pregnancy.
Experts say an estimated 80 percent of people don’t develop any symptoms after being infected with the virus. Common identified symptoms are however usually mild — a rash, headaches, pain in the joints and bones, and fever. These symptoms typically show up between three and 12 days after the initial mosquito bite, and then go away within a week.
Experts also say death from Zika infection is rare.
More signs of Zika Virus infection i pix