IN the light of the spread of the deadly Zika virus to some countries, the Federal Government has placed restrictions on travels to Latin America until the situation improves.
The restriction particularly affects pregnant women, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said yesterday.The virus has so far spread to 23 countries, especially in Latin America.
The Minister, who alerted Nigerians on the recent outbreak of Zika virus infection, which was first discovered in Brazil in 2014, said the virus is transmitted by a bite of mosquito vector, according to available studies, and manifests as mild fever, rash (mostly maculo-papular), headaches, joint pain (arthralgia), muscle pain (myalgia), loss of weight (asthenia) and non-purulent conjunctivitis.
The virus is also associated with higher risk of congenital malformations in newborns when pregnant women are affecte. The diseases usually occur about three to 12 days after the mosquito vector bite.
Adewole said in a statement: "The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised a global alert because the disease has affected about 23 countries in the Americas especially in Latin America. At the moment, there is no cure or vaccine for Zika virus infection."
"The Federal Ministry of Health hereby advises a travel restriction especially by pregnant women to Latin America for now until situation improves. In addition, the Honourable Minister of Health has directed Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to include Zika virus diagnosis as part of ongoing efforts to manage Lassa fever outbreak in the country."
"He urged Nigerians to be vigilant and report promptly any case of unexplained fever that is more than 48 hours, especially in those with recent travels to Latin America, to health care professionals."
"He also enjoined those working at various ports of entry into the country to interview anyone coming from any of the Latin American countries for evidence of Zika virus symptoms."
"He also announced that that there is no single case of Zika virus infection in the country and there is no need to panic."
"The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation and update Nigerians of any other developments."