The current Ebola outbreak may be over in the country on September 6 when all those receiving treatment and those under quarantine are expected to be released, a senior government official has said.
Professor Abdulsalami Nasidi, the Project Director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said in Abuja yesterday that Nigeria had been able to tackle the Ebola virus frontally and "we very close to pushing the disease out of our land at least for now."
The deadly viral disease has claimed more than 1000 lives in West African including five people in Nigeria.
It was imported into Nigeria by a Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer on July 20 who infected many people that came in contact with him.
But presenting a paper at a workshop organised by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) on Molecular Diagnosis and Treatment for Hemorrhagic and Zoonotic Viral Diseases Prof Nasidi, who is one of the officials at the forefront of containing the spread of the disease, said Nigerians should stop panicking over Ebola as the disease is on its way out of the country already.
"Let me say here that if the current efforts at tackling the disease are sustained we should be able to defeat Ebola on or before September 6. But that is not to say the threat (of reappearance) will no longer be there" the Prof said.
On blood screening for Ebola he said: "You only need to screen (the blood of) those who have come in contact with an infected person, not everybody. Asking everybody to screen their blood for Ebola is out of WHO's recommendation."
The federal government, he said, is already taking it up with embassies that now put this as one of the requirement for visa processing.
NABDA DG Prof Lucy Agabadu said "the agency can now quickly detect Ebola before it blows to a full disease because we now do a molecular laboratory diagnosis of any sample."
She said researchers from the agency "made the breakthrough in collaboration with scientists from South Korea."
Earlier, the Minister of Science and Technology Dr Abdu Bulama had urged experts at the workshop to explore treatment options for Ebola.
He said his ministry would continue to collaborate with ministry of health in finding lasting solution to the Ebola scourge.
A professor of virology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital ( LUTH) Sunday Omilabu, who led the team that discovered that Sawyer's illness was Ebola, said what Nigerians need now is to increase good sanitary practice.
"Just wash your hands with soap and water always and keep your environment clean and avoid coming in physical contact with a patient or what patient has touched. All these would go a long way in keeping save from the virus."