Ebola: Jonathan says you should stop attending burials

by Azubuike Azikiwe

President Goodluck Jonathan has warned Nigerians to be mindful of attending burial ceremonies. He gave this warning in Abuja during a conference organised by the Interfaith Initiative For Peace in Abuja while responding to some children who had during their presentation asked the government and religious leaders to help them end insurgency and the spread of the virus.

Jonathan also disclosed that all 36 state governors and commissioners of healthy have been invited to Abuja for an emergency meeting scheduled to take place on Wednesday to discuss efforts aimed at keeping the disease under check.

“As a government, we promise we will do everything possible to contain Ebola.

“We must make sure that every state is prepared, where they lack, Federal Government will support the states to make sure that they have what it takes to contain Ebola virus.

“It is unfortunate that one mad man brought the Ebola virus to us, but we have to contain it. But this is a good forum that we will use to also plead with our religious leaders because people listen to you more than they listen to politicians.”

Jonathan told the audience present at the event that reports available to him suggest that about 60 per cent of new cases were transmitted during the burial of infected people.

He told the conference that Patrick Sawyer, the American-Liberian who imported the virus into Nigeria is believed to have contacted the deadly virus during the burial of his sister.

He said it was imperative that people are allowed to be buried wherever they die rather than corpses being moved from one part of the country to the other.

The President expressed the belief that if the situation is managed well, it would not take the country more than two months to overcome the health challenge.

Besides Ebola, other diseases have also witnessed inter-country transfer in the past, while some still continue to be exported from country to country.

One of such diseases is Chikungunya, an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. Travellers who go to the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian ocean are susceptible to the bites of the mosquito that carries the Chikungunya virus. Many of such travellers could find themselves carrying the disease back to their respective countries.

Although Chikungunya disease rarely results in death, its symptoms can be severe and disabling.

Another notable disease in this category is Chagas disease, a chronic infection generally acquired by people in rural areas of Latin America, but at present, over 300,000 people in the United States have this disease.

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