Zika Virus: FG Issues Travel Restrictions To Latin America

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Following the outbreak of Zika virus infection in Latin America, the Federal Government has directed that pregnant women should be restricted from travelling to Latin America for now until the situation improves.

The government further directed the Nigeria Center for Disease Control to include Zika virus diagnosis as part of ongoing efforts to manage the Lassa fever outbreak in the country.

A statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Boade Akinola, on Friday quoted the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, as saying that “there is no single case of Zika virus infection in the country and there is no need to panic.”

The statement noted that anyone coming from any of the Latin American countries should be interviewed at the various ports of entry to ascertain evidence of Zika virus symptoms, adding that the Federal Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation and update Nigerians of any other developments.

Adewole said, “The World Health Organisation has raised a global alert because the disease has affected about 23 countries in 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, we have directed the NCDC to include Zika virus diagnosis as part of ongoing effort to manage Lassa fever outbreak in the country.

“Nigerians should 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. Nigerians working at various ports of entry into the country should interview anyone coming from any of the Latin American countries for evidence Zika virus symptoms.”

The manifestation of Zika virus infection include 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 newborn when pregnant women are affected. The diseases usually occur about three to twelve days after the mosquito vector bite.