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BREAKING: Nigeria At High Risk Of Ebola, NCDC Warns

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has said that Nigeria is at high risk of Ebola virus disease following the outbreak of the disease in Uganda.

The NCDC, in a release on Tuesday, signed by its Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, stated that it was on high alert, adding that “the likelihood of importation of the disease to Nigeria is high due to the increased air travel between Nigeria and Uganda, especially through Kenya’s Nairobi airport, a regional transport hub, and other neighbouring countries that share a direct border with Uganda.”

According to the NCDC, the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease was caused by the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus in Uganda as declared on September 20, 2022.

The statement partly read, “The Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed the virus in samples collected from a 24-year-old male who exhibited symptoms of the disease and later died as a result in Mubende District in the Central Region about 175km from the capital, Kampala. As of September 29, 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health has reported 54 cases (35 confirmed and 19 probable) and 25 deaths (seven confirmed and 18 probable). The Ugandan Ministry of Health with support from the WHO is working to effectively respond to and contain the spread of the virus.

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“The NCDC-led multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Technical Working Group working with partners and stakeholders has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities. The NEVHD TWG coordinates preparedness efforts for EVD and other emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases.

“Based on available data, the overall risk of importation of the Ebola virus and the impact on the health of Nigerians has been assessed as HIGH for the following reasons:

“The Sudan Ebola Virus does not currently have an effective drug for treatment or licensed vaccine for prevention.

“The extent of the outbreak in Uganda has not yet been ascertained as investigations have shown that some persons may have died with similar symptoms which were not reported to health authorities. In addition, their burials were not conducted safely to prevent transmission.

“The case fatality rate of the Sudan virus varied from 41% to 100% in past outbreaks.

“The likelihood of spread in Nigeria following importation is high due to the gatherings and travel associated with politics, the coming yuletide as well as other religious gatherings and festivals during the last few months of the year.”

However, the NCDC said, despite this risk assessment, Nigeria had the capacity – technical, human (health workforce), and diagnostic – to respond effectively in the event of an outbreak.

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Currently, no case of EVD has been reported in Nigeria. Nonetheless, the Nigerian government through the NCDC’s multisectoral NEVHD TWG has put several measures in place to prevent and prepare for immediate control of any outbreak of the disease in-country,” it noted, adding that the NCDC Incident Coordination Centre is now in alert mode.

“Passengers arriving from Uganda and persons who transited in Uganda are being followed up for 21 days of their arrival in Nigeria on their health status.

“Trained Rapid Response Teams are on standby to be deployed in the event of an outbreak.

“Public Health Emergency Operations Centres in states with major points of entry, that is, Lagos, Kano, Abuja, and Rivers states are on standby. A medical countermeasures plan is available.

“Amplification of risk communication and engagement with states and partners to strengthen preparedness activities which include– a review of risk communication protocols, plans, and messages in the event of an outbreak,” the NCDC added.
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Cough: What You Need To Know

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By Silver Yeibake

The cough reflex is a protective mechanism that helps to clear the airways of mucus, irritants, or foreign particles. When our airway is irritated, it sends a signal to the brain, which then triggers the muscles in our chest and abdomen to quickly expel air, clearing or removing the irritant. This reflex acts as a crucial defense mechanism for the respiratory system. “Cough is not a disease process.”

Kindly note the beautifully coordinated steps involved in the action we know as cough:

1. Irritatant detection: The first step in the cough reflex is the detection of an irritant in the airways, such as dust, smoke, or mucus by special protein complexes called irritants receptors (for convenience) which convert the sensation into an electrical impulse.

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2. Signal Transmission: The receptors in the airway send the signals along nerves to the brain, specifically to a part called *”the cough center”* located in the medulla oblongata, a part of the brainstem.

3. Signal Processing: The brain processes these signals and responds by sending nerve impulses back to the muscles involved in the coughing process.

4. Muscle Contraction: The diaphragm, abdominal muscles, and muscles in the chest wall contract, increasing the pressure in the chest and forcing air out of the lungs at a high speed, making the sound that is characteristic of cough.

5. Expelling Irritant: The forceful release of air clears the airway, expelling/removing the irritant and helping to protect the respiratory system.

The above steps are designed to occur repeatedly until the irritant is removed from the airways or respiratory system or drugs are given to suppress this important protective function.

Although taking cough medication for relief as first aid is usual, it is best to identify and address the cause as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if 2 to 3 days of therapy do not give improvement or the symptom worsened rapidly.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver, a
Senior Registrar, Faculty Of Pediatrics, West Africa College of Physician (WACP), writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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Urinary Retention: What You Need To Know

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By Yeibake Silver

Urinary retention is defined by an inability to empty the bladder completely. It can be caused by a number of circumstances, including a urinary tract obstruction, nerve issues, drugs, and certain medical diseases.

There are two types of urine retention: acute and chronic. Acute urine retention happens unexpectedly and is frequently painful, necessitating quick medical intervention. Chronic urine retention, on the other hand, occurs gradually and may not be as painful.

Urinary retention symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, difficulties commencing urination, a weak urine stream, dribbling after urination, and the sensation that the bladder is not completely emptied. In more severe situations, urine retention can result in consequences such as urinary tract infections, kidney damage, or bladder damage.

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Treatment for urine retention may include addressing the underlying cause, such as eliminating a urinary tract obstruction or modifying medications. Catheterization may be required to empty the bladder in severe situations. In some cases, surgery may be required to address the condition causing urine retention.

It is important that individuals having symptoms of urinary retention seek medical attention and therapy to avoid problems and enhance their quality of life.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver, a
Senior Registrar, Faculty Of Pediatrics, West Africa College of Physician (WACP), writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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HEALTH CORNER: What You Need To Know About Peptic Ulcer Disease

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Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a condition that affects the stomach and first part of the small intestine. It is characterized by open sores(wounds), known as “ulcers,” that form in the lining of these organs.

Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) affects four million people worldwide annually and has an estimated lifetime occurrence of 5−10% in the general population. Its frequency is reducing among young males and increasing in older females.

The most common cause of PUD is a bacterial infection called  “Helicobacter pylori”  (H. pylori), but it can also be caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Puroxicam, or excessive acid production in the stomach in some disease conditions.

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The risk factors include alcohol abuse, smoking, prolonged use or use of high doses of NSAIDs, misuse of steroids such as Prednisolone and Dexamethasone, and exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation.

“Stress, carbonated soft drinks, and spicy foods do not cause ulcers but can make them worse.”

Symptoms of PUD can vary from person to person, but they commonly include:

1. Burning or gnawing abdominal pain, usually in the upper middle part of the abdomen.
2. Feeling full and bloated after eating.
3. Nausea or vomiting.
4. Loss of appetite.
5. Weight loss.
6. Dark or black stools (indicating gastrointestinal bleeding).

If a person has symptoms suggestive of PUD, it is important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis.

A healthcare provider will take relevant history, perform a physical examination, and may recommend tests such as an upper endoscopy, a breath test for H. pylori, or blood tests.

Treatment for PUD typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Medications may include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and antihistamines to reduce stomach acid production, antacids to neutralize already produced acid, and antibiotics to eliminate H. pylori.

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Lifestyle changes may include avoiding NSAIDs, alcohol, and smoking, as well as managing stress levels and eating a healthy diet.

In severe cases of PUD, complications like bleeding, perforation (a hole in the stomach or intestine wall), or obstruction may occur. These require immediate medical attention and may lead to hospitalization or surgery.

“Please do understand that PUD, just like Malaria, is curable with appropriate and adequate treatment, and not a life-long diagnosis. However, it can recur as many times as possible as long as the patient keeps exposing himself/herself to the causative agents or keeps indulging in behaviours that can trigger and/or worsen its symptoms.”

It is worth noting that while PUD can cause discomfort and complications, with proper treatment and management, most people can find relief from their symptoms and prevent recurrence.

It is important to follow the healthcare provider’s advice and attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor the condition.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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