The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said that the mosquitoes carrying Zika virus are in Nigeria and urged Nigerians to protect themselves by using mosquito nets.
He also called on Nigerians to remain calm, be vigilant and report any suspected case of an acute febrile illness in pregnant women, in particular, to any nearest health facility.
Adewole made this disclosure at a press briefing, Thursday, in Abuja, where he explained that the mosquitoes were active and flying, adding that they bite during the day and early morning.
“Nigerian scientists working in Western Nigeria in 1954 discovered Zika virus in Nigeria. Further studies in the years 1975 to 1979 showed that 40 per cent of Nigeria adults and 25 per cent of Nigerian children have antibodies to Zika virus, meaning they are protected against this virus.
“Despite the fact that some Nigerians are immune to the Zika virus infection as demonstrated by previous studies, it is important and advisable that Nigerians should be careful and protect themselves from mosquito bites.
“There is no vaccine for Zika virus, and no cure other than rest, plenty of fluids and perhaps over-the-counter medication to reduce fevers, aches and pains as previously mentioned. This, therefore, means that prevention is most effective means of preventing transmission.
“I advise all Nigerians, particularly pregnant women, to avoid travelling to countries infected by this virus in these periods. If however, you are to visit any country where Zika virus is now being actively transmitted, you are advised to protect yourselves from mosquito bites.
“Pregnant women considering travel to affected areas may wish to consult their health-care provider prior to travel and after return. They should also practice personal and household steps to prevent mosquito, including putting mosquito repellant on their clothes and skin, wear long sleeves and pants, and sleep underneath mosquito nets at night, where possible,” the minister said.