Health and Safety

Nigeria has a poor reputation for safety and civil unrest and yet, for the traveller, it can seem like the friendliest and most welcoming country in West Africa. Finding a way through these apparently contradictory states is the way to get the most out of your holiday. It is also recommended that you bring a substantial supply of any important medication along with you as the availability of your medication in Nigerian pharmacies is not certain, most especially when you have a preferred name brand.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EBOLA VIRUS

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE

Zaire Ebola virus or EBOV other wise known as Ebola Virus is a virological taxon species that belongs in the genus Ebola virus, family: filouiridae, members are called filovirus and the order is monogamousness. Among the five species of the ebola virus, the Zaire Ebola virus is the most dangerous and it causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and other primate.

The first case of the virus was recorded in 1976 in a river called Ebola where the disease got it name from in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nzara, Sudan. According to records gotten from World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease was transmitted to humans through the handling of host carrier Fruits Bats and other primates such as monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, forest antelopes and porcupines that were found ill or dead in the rain forest.

HOW IS THE VIRUS TRANSMITTED?

The Ebola Virus which is highly contagious and reputed to be one of mankind’s most deadliest diseases was transmitted in the human population via close contact with the host carrier (fruits bats) and other ill or dead primates infected with the virus. It can be transmitted through the following means:
1. Through consumption of the host carrier (fruits bats)
2. You are at risks if you have a personal contact with the body fluids such as: sweats, saliva, urine, blood, faeces and semen of an infected person.
3. One can get infected through exposure to contaminated objects such as needles, syringe, soiled bedding or clothing used by an infected person
4. Consumption of primates that have already been infected by the host carrier.
5. Men who have been treated of the disease can still transmit to their spouse through semen 7 weeks after recovery from the illness.
6. The disease can also be gotten from close contact with the dead body of an infected person

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Ebola Virus can stay in the body of an infected person for 2-21 days before they start showing signs. However, the signs of the disease is characterised by a sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscles pain, headache and sore throat. If the sickness is allowed to get to it final stage, the infected person has symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.

VACCINE AND TREATMENT

Presently, there is no vaccine that can cure the Ebola Virus but several test are been conducted to ensure a vaccine is gotten. For the time being, those who have already been infected and severely ill, they require intensive supportive care, they will be frequently dehydrated and rehydrated with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE VIRUS

  1. Avoid direct contact with the fluid or broken skin of infected persons.
  2. It is advisable to cremate corpse of an infected person or avoid body contact of any kind with the corpse.
  3. Practise a good hand washing technique such as using hand sanitizers.
  4. The virus is easily killed when it comes in contact with soap, bleach, sunlight or drying.
  5. Avoid eating bush meat.
  6. Health-care workers who are at a very high risks should endeavour to use proper safety precautions such as wearing face protection mask with goggles, a clean non-sterile long-sleeved gown and gloves.
  7. It is also important to note that the virus is not airborne.

COUNTRIES CURRENTLY AFFECTED

The disease which had a major outbreak in March 2014 started in Guinea and was further spread to neighbouring countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. The total number of recorded human case since the recent outbreak in March is said to be about 1323 and the death toll is 729. Nigeria has recorded just one death so far.

Travel Insurance

It is essential to note that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company in case you may need medical care while in Nigeria. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement.Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by transfer.

Safety Tips

As a tourist, it is essential to take certain precautions for the period of your stay. It goes without saying that you should remain alert, observe people around you, and put in practice the same safety measures you would in any big city. There are however a few extra points unique to Nigeria that are worth paying heed to:

  • Avoid demonstrations, large gatherings and volatile crowds.
  • Carefully consider your need to travel after dark, and if you do indulge in the nation’s vibrant night-life, keep alert at all times and try your best to keep to well-lit city centre areas. Note that the majority of attacks in Nigerian urban centres happen after 10 pm.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash with you, and do not wear expensive or flamboyant jewellery. Be modest so you do not attract too much attention to yourself.
  • If caught in a dangerous situation, do not resist; comply with the perpetrator’s request. Most victims harmed report struggling with or defying attackers.
  • Be security conscious and keep your possessions within reach.
  • Never relinquish your passport or accompany a police officer to the station unless formally arrested.
  • Realise that homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria
  • Always avoid driving or being driven after dark.
  • Be very cautious when swimming off the beaches and never swim alone or without company or someone knowing that you have gone into the water. If you are a weak swimmer, it is probably best to stick to paddling.

Health Risks in Nigeria

Most of Africa is high risk for malaria and as such you must plan your malaria protection in advance. Malaria is rife in Nigeria and as such a huge concern to health authorities. Anti-malaria prophylaxes such as Larium or Malaron – the two most popular drugs – are recommended for travellers. Visit the doctor immediately if feeling the least bit flu-ish as malaria is easy to treat if detected early.

You are advised to get inoculation shots for tetanus, diphtheria, measles, hepatitis A and B, and possibly typhoid, meningitis and rubella.

That said, there are other issues, so if you are travelling to Nigeria while pregnant, seek expert advice before departure.