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Fruit Bats and Health Care Wastes, Possible Transmitters of Ebola

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The Nigerian Federal Government said on Tuesday, that it has begun targeting fruit bats and health care wastes, as possible transmitters of the deadly Ebola virus.

The government has started a survey of areas of the country with a high concentration of animals, especially fruit bats, which are considered the hosts of the Ebola virus.

Laurentia Mallam, the Minister for Environment said that it is imperative to control the animals in the bid to contain and halt the spread of the virus.

"The control of animals implicated in the spread of this disease, especially fruit bats, which are so numerous in many of our urban cities such as Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, to mention but a few, is now our major focus", she said.

She further went on to say: "We have started a survey of their distribution in Abuja where we have found a substantial population in Wuse area, the Three Arms Zone, and some areas of Maitama District and Kubwa. We have equally commenced a similar survey in other states and towns in order that we may implement a comprehensive exercise".

"We are also in touch with the various states of the federation for the implementation of massive dis-infestations of homes, offices, hospitals, hotels, and indeed public places infested with bats, rats and other pests", Mallam said.

The minister also added that the management of the healthcare wastes by hospitals in Nigeria is being looked into, adding that this is also a possible avenue for the transmission and spread of the Ebola virus.

"In most cases and in many places, healthcare wastes are combined with other municipal wastes and disposed at open dumps indiscriminately. Even where their exposure remains hazardous and perilous, the menace of scavengers in healthcare wastes are indeed harmful and potential source of Ebola virus disease".

The minister also stated that a very perturbing and critical aspect in the spread of the Ebola virus is through contact with waste items and personal articles of persons exposed to the disease, encouraging the disinfection of fomites and homes where the disease has occurred.

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Godwin Ibe

Medical Doctor (GP), IT professional, Web Designer, CELTA Certified Teacher of English, Economist and International Trade Marketer.

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