The Nigerian aviation authority has directed all airlines operating regional and international flights to exercise a high level of vigilance to prevent the incursion of Ebola virus into the country.
Sam Adurogboye, spokesperson for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), confirmed the directive in a statement reaching Xinhua in Lagos, the country’s economic hub.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, following the resurgence of the Ebola disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This was in line with international health regulations, it said.
Adurogboye said the directive had since been sent to all airline operators, adding that the airlines were to refresh the knowledge of their crew members for improved and sustained proficiency in handling and communication with air traffic control of any suspected case of communicable disease on board.
He said that in case of death to a patient, operating airlines should endeavor to contact port health services for clearance before importing human remains into the country.
Adurogboye added that airlines were to report to NCAA any suspected case of communicable disease on board any flight.
During an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014, several people were killed after a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, flew into the country from Liberia to Lagos where the infection spread.
The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, other bodily fluids or organs of infected persons or animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, and antelopes, and it has an incubation period of two to 21 days.
Sufferers can experience fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches, and a sore throat, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, rashes and impaired kidney and liver function. In the most severe cases, the virus leads to both external and internal bleeding.