Coronavirus in Nigeria: How ready are we?

Now, Coronavirus is almost in every continent in the world. Today, the Nigerian government reported its first case, in Lagos state. The virus now is a global pandemic even though the World Health Organisation has not publicly said it. This kind of disease or virus is devesting in developing nations, the underprivileged are the ones that always take the hit. For example, Ebola virus is still a big public health issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There isn’t much stories about it because it has been contained in that region and its threat to the rest of the world is no more, hence the limited attention. A background about Coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (SARS-CoV-2). The SARS-CoV-2 is a beta coronavirus, like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. All these three viruses have originated from bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are like the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.

Early on, many of the patients in the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread has been reported outside China, including in the United States and other locations.

Illness severity

These viruses are all known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) isn’t fully cleared or understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. The severity assessment of the disease is still ongoing, information is been updated as the situation develops. You can read or sign up to the Center for Disease Control to get email updates about the virus and other health topics.

Symptoms

For confirm COVID-19 cases, reported illnesses have been ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. These symptoms can include:

  1. Cough
  2. Fever
  3. Shortness of breath

NOTE:

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

Prevention

There is no cure or vaccine to COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your sneeze or cough, then through the tissue I n trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitise with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

How does it reach Nigeria?

It’s an obvious answer, but today, Nigeria reported its first case of the disease in Lagos. An Italian man who landed in Lagos has been said to be patient zero in the country. Nigeria is the first Sub-Saharan region to report the first case of COVID-19. However, Egypt and Algeria have reported cases of the disease. The low number of cases across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, has puzzled health specialists and raised questions about authorities’ capabilities to detect the virus.

Commissioner Akin Abayomi said the man was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. The patient was clinically stable with no serious symptoms and was being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos – this according to Aljazeera.

The question that need to be answered is, how will Nigeria or any of these Sub-Saharan Africa detect and diagnose this virus? With the lack of resources, there is a possibility of seeing more cases reported across Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. Hopefully, there will be a cure or vaccine to help reduce this pandemic, soon. For the meantime, the Nigeria government need to put more effort in seeing that the spread of the virus has been contained.

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