Ebola, the scariest and deadliest disease of 2014 has attracted a lot of attention in Nigeria and across the globe. However, there are lesser known diseases prevalent in Nigeria that are killing much more people than the much dreaded Ebola, most of which are among the most deadly diseases ever known to mankind. Keep reading as we explore which diseases you should really be more wary of because you will be surprised at what the deadliest diseases of all times in Nigeria are.
8. Perinatal Conditions
Perinatal conditions are events occurring around the time of childbirth. There is no doubt that childbirth can be a very magical moment mostly cherished between young parents and a newborn. However, out of over half a million pregnancy-related deaths worldwide, it may interest you to know that there are over 40,000 of those occurring in Nigeria and some sources including official data from National Population Commission (NPC) have suggested that over 140 people die every day from pregnancy-related conditions in Nigeria alone making Nigeria the second country with the highest maternal mortality rate (after India) and the highest in Africa. This is a substantial proportion when viewed from a global standpoint. It has been established that 70 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in Nigeria are as a result of 4 conditions: haemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia and complications of abortion and can easily be prevented.
7. Cerebrovascular Disease/Accident (Stroke)
Cerebrovascular disease may sound too over decorated for a common medical condition commonly known as stroke which occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to a part of the brain which could either result from blockage or rupture of a blood vessel commonly known as Ischaemic or Haemorrhagic stroke respectively. If blood flow is interrupted, for longer than a few minutes, the brain cells begin to suffer from irreparable damage which could result in permanent damage.
6. Diarrhoeal Diseases
Diarrhoeal disease is a very common cause of death most especially in third world countries while it is the second most common cause of deaths in children less than 1-year-old worldwide. According to the latest WHO data deaths caused by diarrhoeal diseases in Nigeria reached 173,878 or 10.19% of total deaths and the age adjusted Death Rate is 101.48 per 100,000 of the population. This data ranks Nigeria as the 19th country in the world.
5. Respiratory Tract Infection/Pneumonia
Respiratory tract infection including pneumonia constituted the second leading cause of death in Nigeria. There are two major types of lower respiratory infections: bronchitis and pneumonia. Some of the easily recognizable symptoms of these infections include a runny nose and sneezing, headache, and sore throat. Symptoms may include fever in more severe cases like pneumonia. In most developing countries, these diseases can easily be lethal unlike in developed nations.
Ebola by far has received the most media mention because of the most recent outbreak, however, the diseases mentioned on the next page are already prevalent in Nigeria and their rate of killing makes Ebola a child’s play
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease affecting up to 90% of people sharing a living space with an infected person. Across the globe, measles kills 22 people every hour or about 197,000 people every year; remaining a leading cause of death among children most especially the under fives.
Despite the availability of vaccine, the spread of measles is fuelled by poverty, lack of access to medicine and lack of education though there has been a drastic fall in the cases of measles by up to 74% within the last 15 years, the disease stills claims thousands of lives in Nigeria.
3. Tuberculosis (TB)
Do you know that Tuberculosis; a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis is more wide-spread than you think? The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the world’s 7 billion population is currently infected with TB and that someone in the world is getting newly infected with TB every second that passes more of which happens again in Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, the good news is that being infected does not mean that the disease is going to manifest as the individual would tend to become symptomatic of there is any other debilitating illness or condition that suppress the immunity like HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and some other chronic (long-standing diseases) like poorly managed diabetes. The bitter truth is that TB is next to HIV/AIDS when it comes to number of deaths caused. Back in 2012, there were around 1.3 million TB-related deaths worldwide most of which occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and other developing countries.
HIV/AIDS was first reported in the 1980s and the fact remains that since then, AIDS has caused over 30 million deaths. This is more than the population of Gabon, Botswana, Gambia, Qatar, Jamaica, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway and Denmark put together. Though its mortality rate has reduced because of education and anti-viral medications used to combat it, it still kills millions of people year on year. According to UNAIDS, In 2012, there were 35.3 million people living with HIV and since the start of the epidemic, around 75 million [63 million–89 million] have become infected with HIV. In 2012, 1.6 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide; over 1 million deaths occur in Africa on a yearly bases and Nigeria recorded 239,700 deaths in the same year. This is far more than every single Ebola outbreak in history added together.
And YES! the “ordinary Malaria you know is the ultimate killer of all times with millions of deaths in its portfolio. This mosquito transmitted disease causes symptoms that generally start off as a general feeling of un-wellness (malaise) and later progressing to fever and headache, which in severe cases can end up with coma or death.
Malaria is a major health problem mostly in Africa where thirty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa account for 90% of global malaria deaths. It is also important to note that Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, and Uganda account for nearly 50% of the global malaria deaths. It is estimated that up to 100 million cases of malaria resulting in over 300,000 deaths in Nigeria every year. 97% of Nigeria’s population are exposed to the risk of having malaria and the remaining 3% live in the on the malaria free highlands in Nigeria.
Everything You Need To Know About Ebola Virus
Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses on earth. The survival rate of those infected is barely 10% and in some of the countries, especially in Africa and in Guinea to be specific, the survival rate is almost zero. The Ebola virus first appeared in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Family filovirus has 3 genus; genus Ebolavirus, genus Marburgvirus and genus Cuevavirus. Genus Ebolavirus has five distinct species.
Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).
Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV).
BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV is mostly found in Africa, especially West African countries especially in Guinea and Liberia. RESTV and TAFV have never occurred in Africa.
The RESTV species is mostly found in Philippines and China, it can infect people but so far, no infection or death has been reported.
Mode of transmission of Ebola Virus
From animal to human, Ebola virus gets into the human body through close contact with any-body secretion including mucus, pus, vaginal discharges among other secretion, blood and body organs of infected animals. In Africa, people have gotten infections by handling infected animals such as gorillas, chimpanzee and fruit bats.
Transmission from human to human infections can be through direct contact, hugging or handshaking infected person with a broken skin or mucous membrane, blood, body secretions including sweat, pus and saliva. Infections have also occurred indirectly when people come in contact with the contaminated environment. In Africa, many cases have been reported where mourners get infections by coming into contact with the body of the deceased.
Seven weeks after recovery from illness, people can also transmit the Ebola virus.
Health workers have also been infected while treating EVD patients. Failure to take strict prevention measures has resulted in infections.
Ebola Virus Signs and Symptoms
Ebola Virus Disease, (EVD) is a severe acute viral disease that is characterized by intense weakness, sudden onset of fever, headache, sore throat, and muscle pain. Usually, this is followed by diarrhea, rash, vomiting, impaired liver, and kidney function. In some cases, both kidney and liver functions are completely hampered, patients suffer profuse internal and external bleeding.
Laboratory founding has indicated low white blood cells and plate number, in addition, patients also suffer elevated liver enzymes.
Typically, symptoms appear 8-10 days after exposure to the virus, but the incubation period can span two to 21 days.
Diagnosis of Ebola Virus
When diagnosing EVD, the following diseases should be ruled out; malaria, hepatitis, shigellosis, cholera, relapsing fever, typhoid fever, leptospirosis, plague, meningitis, and other viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Some of the methods of diagnosing Ebola which will differentiate it from other viral diseases includes;
Serum neutralization test
Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
Antigen detection tests
Virus isolation by cell culture.
Samples are extremely dangerous and testing should be done under maximum biological containment conditions.
Prevention and treatment of Ebola Viral Disease
Currently, there is no EVD vaccine, several vaccines are being tried but no single vaccine has proved to be effective/ for clinical use.
Patients are frequently hydrated, they require intensive supportive care. Hydration can be treated by giving patients intravenous fluids oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes.
EVD has no specific treatment, each day new drugs are being evaluated.
How to Reduce Ebola Risk
Ebola has no treatment and vaccine, the only way to have to alleviate it is by raising awareness. You need to educate the masses on how to avoid infections, they should also endeavor to report Ebola cases to the authority.
Currently, Senegal has imposed quarantine, you cannot travel from Guinea to Senegal.
Importance and Impact of Ebola
Ebola has a major impact on the national economy. For example, most of western countries have banned their citizens from traveling to Guinea. Brussels airline has canceled most of its flights to Guinea.
There is also the loss of manpower, both skilled and non-skilled.
There have been more than 3,300 reported human cases and more than 2,000 deaths since the discovery of Ebola. The World Health Organization says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 932. The new figures come Wednesday as authorities in Nigeria confirmed the death of a nurse of Ebola. Saudi Arabia also announced one death of a person with Ebola-like symptoms. The outbreak emerged in March in Guinea and shows no sign of slowing down. Most of the new deaths are coming from Liberia and Sierra Leone. There now have been 363 deaths in Guinea, 282 in Liberia, 286 in Sierra Leone and one confirmed death in Nigeria, according to WHO’s statistics as of Aug. 4.
Confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola as of August 4, 2014 (World Health Organization):
Guinea – 495 cases, 363 deaths
Liberia – 516 cases, 282 deaths
Nigeria – 9 cases, 1 death
Sierra Leone – 691 cases, 286 deaths
In Africa fruit bats, particularly species Epomops franqueti, Hypsignathus monstrosus and Myonycteris torquata, are possible natural hosts for Ebola virus.
Currently, there is Ebola outbreak in West African countries especially Liberia and Guinea. Some of the challenges health workers are facing includes:
The remoteness of the affected areas: It is hard to assess some part of these countries.
Lack of enough trained personnel. WHO has to import health personnel from other countries.
Patients who have recovered also suffer stigma, locals cannot easily accept them back.
There is a lot of progress and you need to keep yourself current to get everything you need to know about Ebola virus
Top 10 Commonly Misconceived Facts About Ebola
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever (fever that comes with bleeding) that is for the most part very scary, especially given the fact that it has an outstanding death rate of up to 60 percent and has very horrible effects to the body of a human being. Over the years, since its discovery, many myths and misconception about the disease have popped up and, have further heightened and sent everyone into a frenzy for fear of the deadly virus. In this article, we will have a look at some of the myths and beliefs that are wrongly being upheld about Ebola by quite a large number of people over the years.
1. Ebola virus can be transmitted through air as well as water (i.e. it is airborne as well as waterborne).
This could not be any further from the truth. The Ebola virus can only be transmitted and spread through bodily fluids or by consuming meat from an infected bat or any primate that is not cooked properly. When someone comes into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person such as blood, urine sweat and semen and even in some cases, saliva, they can contract Ebola disease. However, there are no records of the disease being transmitted through air or even through water.
2. Ebola is a virus that morphs quickly and it could therefore eventually become airborne
A very important fact to note about the Ebola virus is that unlike other viruses that are known to man, it does not change as fast as we might be tempted to think and as a result, the possibility of it mutating and becoming airborne eventually is a very far-fetched myth.
3. There is a shortage of cure and vaccines meant for Ebola.
To be honest, there are no licensed drugs or vaccines that could cure the Ebola virus. However, there is currently an experimental serum known as ZMAPP that could in the future, act as a vaccine or even a cure. However, far from that, patients who contract the disease have to be taken care of and watched closely and the patient’s system supported and rehydrated as the case may be. So in essence, it is not wrong to attribute survival of Ebola-infected people to quality supportive treatment.
4. Ebola can be treated with antibiotics
Ebola is caused by a virus and not a bacteria. As such, there is no antibiotic that can cure the disease as they are meant to cure diseases caused by bacteria. In addition, onions, condensed milk and mangoes cannot do the trick either.
5. Death is a sure thing for those who contract the disease.
While there is no sure cure for the disease at the moment, contracting the disease does not necessarily mean that one has to die. Yes, the death rate is 60% and in some cases up to 90% but this is not 100% – is it? With intensive support and care, one can survive, live through the disease and tell the tale.
6. Ebola turns your internal organ to liquid leading to bleeding through the orifices.
The above statement is not entirely true. While Ebola symptoms may include bleeding from the nose, ears, eyes mouth and practically any orifice, this does not happen to about 80% of the patients. And most importantly, the virus does not liquefy the internal organs. It, however, leads to multiple organ shock and failure which leads to death. The organ failure is as a result of the organs not receiving sufficient supply of blood as a result of weakened blood vessels.
7. Even after getting cured of Ebola one can still pass it on.
The truth of the matter is that only the people who show signs and symptoms of the disease can spread the disease. Therefore after being cured of the disease, one is not able to pass the virus to other people as they do not have the virus in them anymore. However, it should be noted that a man who is cured of the Ebola virus can still spread it to other people through his semen for a period of 7 weeks after his recovery.
8. Medical teams are the ones responsible for the outbreak of Ebola in Africa
With the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Western part of Africa, there have been claims that medical teams are responsible for the outbreak of the virus. This could not be any further from the truth. The Ebola virus resides in bats. However, despite the fact that bats are the natural habitat for the virus, primates can still get infected and humans can contract the virus from handling the infected primates.
9. Ebola is the deadliest disease there is.
Well, it is true that the disease could be very deadly, however, it is only a myth that it is the deadliest. There are far more ruthless diseases that have claimed more lives all over the world than Ebola.
10. This is the first major Ebola outbreak
The latest outbreak sweeping across West Africa is not the first major outbreak. Since it was first diagnosed in the year 1976, there have been several outbreaks in various parts of the world such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea.