A University Don, Professor Olatunji Kolawole has urged major stakeholders in the Health sector to take urgent and proactive measures to prevent further outbreaks of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) conundrum in the country.
Kolawole, while delivering the 190th in the series of Inaugural Lectures of University of Ilorin yesterday, said, the VHF when handled with levity, especially when treatment was preferred to prevention, could have lethal consequences on the human population of any nation. He spoke on the topic, ‘Transcending the Viral World: A Tale of Mimicry, Knockdown and Knockout’.
According to the lecturer, who is also the National Coordinator of the Nigerian Poliovirus Containment Exercise, the results of a recently conducted medical checks in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, as a case study, showed that the traces of an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever was possible.
He said, ‘’education policy makers should realise that the threat of VHF is real, difficult to curtail and fatal. The fact that we found a seroprevalence of Marburg Virus in another study population in Ilorin shows that another VHF outbreak is imminent.‘’If it happens again, it might not be transmitted from a Liberian or any foreigner anymore; it might originate within our shores.’’
It would be recalled that on July 20 2014, one Mr. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian who was infected with the Ebola Virus, arrived Lagos and set off a chain of transmission that resulted in the infection of 19 people and the death of seven, with a resultant nationwide panic.
Kolawole, who was the first Virologist to contribute 19 novel bacterial strains from the University of Ilorin to the World Genomic Bank (NCBI) U.S.A. canvassed more support for biomedical researches in Nigeria just as he warned of the likely outbreak of another deadly virus similar to Ebola in the country.
He noted, ‘’the plethora of potential outbreaks that could affect Nigeria with dire consequences are enormous. Similar to Ebola virus in terms of fatality is the Marburg virus. A virus considered to be extremely dangerous.
‘’Marburg virus serological prevalence was last reported in a Nigerian population in 1988 by my mentor and a distinguished elder in the Viral world, Professor Oyewole Tomori, who found 29 human Sera positive for Marburg in the northern savanna zones of Benue and the then Gongola states.’’
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