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Ebola NIS increases airport screenings to prevent outbreak in Nigeria

The country is on alert after a neighbouring African country declared an outbreak within its borders.

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Nigeria Immigration Service increases airport screenings to prevent Ebola outbreak play

A health official uses a thermometer on a passenger at the international airport in Lagos, Nigeria

(Sunday Alamba/AP)

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has intensified screening tests at airports and other entry points into the country as a preventive measure against an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, the government of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo declared an outbreak of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a rare and deadly disease, noting laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease with 21 suspected cases over the past five weeks resulting in 17 deaths.

After the announcement by the DRC government on Tuesday, Nigeria's Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, May 9, directed the Ministry of Health to step up surveillance activities against Ebola in the country. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed that part of the new measures to be taken would include screening of passengers coming into the country.

According to a report by Reuters, NIS spokesperson, Sunday James, noted that the agency is taking the screenings seriously.

"We are using all the facilities available to detect the virus. That means extra use of thermometers. We must take extra measures to make sure people are screened at all the entry points into the country," he said.

8 killed in 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria

During an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014, eight people were killed after a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, flew into the country from Liberia to Lagos where the infection spread. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the country Ebola-free after three months of the outbreak.

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