Nigeria’s airports, seaports and land borders have been placed on high alert after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared an outbreak of Ebola this week.
Africa’s most populous country is taking no chances and Health Minister Isaac Adewole told CNN that people traveling from the Central Africa country where 17 people are suspected to have died from the viral hemorrhagic fever, will undergo temperature screening at all borders of the country.
“We are increasing surveillance on air, sea and land borders for all travelers.
Those coming from DRC will be monitored after they have been cleared by health officials at all the ports,” Adewole said, adding that this included transit passengers from high-risk countries.
Adewole told CNN the government had reactivated Emergency Operation Centers created during the 2014 Ebola outbreak to prepare for any confirmed cases.
The health minister added that Nigeria was considering sending a team of health workers to the DRC to help contain the outbreak.
Nigeria recorded its first case of Ebola in 2014 after a government official named Patrick Sawyer, who had been infected with the virus from Liberia, collapsed on arrival at the airport in country’s biggest city, catching health authorities unaware.
Sawyer, a Liberian-American, died at a hospital and infected several health workers, including Stella Ameyo Adedavoh, a doctor who defied orders to allow him to leave the hospital and saved Nigeria from a mass outbreak in the process.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have recorded deadly outbreaks of the disease in the last four years.
Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees), is caused by one of five known Ebola viruses.
Symptoms that include fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and hemorrhaging can begin two to 21 days after exposure.
Nigeria was declared free of Ebola in October 2014 by the World Heath Organization, after 42 days had passed since tests showed the last infected person no longer had the disease.