Ebola scare: Public advised to avoid contacts with bats, antelopes, monkeys

The general public has been advised to avoid eating and getting close to animals found dead in the human rain forests as they may carry the Ebola virus.

Bush animals such as antelopes, fruit bats, dead porcupines, infected chimpanzees among others are said to harbor and spread the virus rapidly among them. The fruit bats, especially, are said to naturally contain the virus.

Any direct contact with such animals through broken skins or mucus membranes would result in a person acquiring the virus.

Dr. Theophilus Adiku, Head of Microbiology at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, who sounded the caution, explained to Joy News Monday evening, that the only way to kill the Ebola virus was to thoroughly boil all edible meats from the bush.

He said the cooking process should take up to 30 minutes or more due to the intensity of the infection, adding that contaminated meats ought to be disposed off with suspected patients, quarantined.

The warning comes in the wake of a suspected Ebola virus recorded at the Nyaho Clinic in Accra.

Ghana’s Health Ministry, in a statement, said it was yet to confirm the case from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR).

Blood sample of an American suspected to have the virus was taken by the institute for confirmation. Four staff members who were with the patient have also been quarantined and kept in an isolated unit of the Nyaho Clinic.

The Ministry said protective gowns have been supplied to staff of the infirmary as part of precautionary measures.

There have been some 467 deaths of 759 cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by the close of June 30, this year.

Ebola is reportedly, the highest recorded in terms of cases, deaths and geographic spread across the countries mentioned above.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has planned to establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to handle issues relating to the Ebola epidemic in parts of the region.

Earlier reports by the organization warned that drastic measures were needed to avert the spread of the virus, which it said could kill up to 90 per cent of the infected persons.

A news release issued by WHO recently disclosed that the setting up of the centre would act as a coordinating platform to consolidate and complement all technical support to West African countries.

The centre would also be used to mobilize assistance from all major partners involved in the fight against the disease.

Health Ministers from the Democratic Republic of  Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and other stakeholders at the end of a two-day emergency conference in Accra last Thursday, mapped out some possible ways to dealing with the Ebola outbreak.

They maintained the adaption of such strategies became necessary due to the serious health threats the disease posed to all countries on the African continent.

These include convening national inter-sectoral meetings with key government ministries, technical committees and other stakeholders to fashion out a plan for the immediate running of the strategy.

Others are to mobilize the communities, religious and political leaders to be made properly aware of the disease while strengthening surveillance.

In addition, they proposed the deployment of more national human resources with the relevant qualifications to occupy key hot spots among others.

The strategy is also to identify and commit additional domestic financial resources, organize cross-border consultations to facilitate the exchange of information as well as working with countries, which have previously managed Ebola outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation.

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