Lagos on alert for Ebola

Health ministry issues warnings as virus spreads in west Africa

The Lagos government has outlined precautionary measures against the world's worst Ebola outbreak in nearby west African countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The Lagos state health ministry has issued Lagos residents with advice on how to prevent the arrival of the disease which is primarily associated with central Africa but has spread steadily in west Africa since February, killing over 600 people.

Measures include washing hands often with soap and water, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and ensuring that objects used by the sick are disinfected and disposed of properly. Healthcare workers must wear protective equipment when attending to suspected or confirmed cases, which have to be reported to health authorities immediately.

The health ministry also highlighted the early symptoms of the virus which include "fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.” 

As the death toll from the virus mounts, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned west Africans to avoid eating certain popular wildlife species, such as fruit bats, which are thought to carry the disease.

The United Nations agency advised communities not to touch or eat bush meat (animals that they find already dead) and to avoid hunting animals that are sick or behaving strangely.

Medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres has described the Ebola outbreak as an “unprecedented epidemic”, hampered by the poor health services available in the impoverished areas of western Africa.