MERS Nigerian National Security Adviser issues alert over virus

In the wake of the seriousness of the outbreak, the NSA has asked the Federal Ministry of Health to activate the response plan and procedure to deal with an eventual outbreak.

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Following the outbreak of the deadly Middle East Respiration Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has alerted the nation over a possible threat of the disease.

15 people have so far died from the disease while hundreds of people are under quarantine.

In the wake of the seriousness of the outbreak, the NSA has asked the Federal Ministry of Health to activate the response plan and procedure to deal with an eventual outbreak.

According to a letter titled ‘Likelihood of MERS outbreak in Nigeria’ dated June 10, 2015 and signed by Brigadier General TT Waya (rtd) for the National Security Adviser,

“With Nigerians travelling all over the world for business and pleasure, the disease could likely be carried into Nigeria as it is transmitted through contact with an infected person. On 20 May 2015, Republic of Korea’s index case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was confirmed. The virus was thereafter reported in China May 29, when a confirmed patient in the Republic of Korea travelled to Guangdong. This outbreak has been adjudged by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as the largest outside of Saudi Arabia. As at June 9, there are more than 108 confirmed cases leading to nine deaths, quarantine of over 3, 400 and closure of 2, 400 schools in South Korea.”

Last Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had raised a global alert on the outbreak and convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) to advise it as to whether this event constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and on public health measures that should be taken.

According to the global health body, the virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient.

WHO while urging member states to enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), encouraged countries to raise awareness of MERS and to provide information to travelers.

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