• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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NCDC says Eris, Pirola Covid-19 variant not in Nigeria

Five things we know about new ‘Eris’ COVID-19 variant

… steps up surveillance as 51 countries report cases

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has revealed that the two new subvariants of the COVID-19 virus known as EG.5 (Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola) have not been identified in Nigeria.

But it has stepped up its surveillance following reported cases of Eris in about 51 countries as of August 7 and the detection of Pirola in five countries including the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, and the United States, as of August 23.

Both viruses are subvariant of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Ifedayo Adetifa, NCDC director-general in a statement released on Saturday said the centre’s COVID-19 technical working group is tracking the spread of the disease on local, regional, and global levels.

The centre is also placing a keen focus on the prevalence of COVID-19 in patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness, even though it has not observed any increase in the trend of the virus in this patient group, Adetifa explained.

“We continue to carry out genomics surveillance even with the low testing levels and encourage testing locations in states to ensure their positive samples are sent on to the NCDC for sequencing,” the DG stated.

Read also: Scientists seek to calm a troubled world hit by fear of new Covid variant

He hinted that the NCDC and partners are working on implementing an enhanced COVID-19 testing exercise in four states to obtain complementary and more detailed information about circulating variants in the country.

Also, COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits are being distributed for the purpose of improving bi-directional COVID-19 testing, according to Adetifa.

The EG.5 has not been associated with any change in symptoms and has not produced an increase in severity of illness or hospitalisations, according to the NCDC.

It causes symptoms like those seen with other COVID-19 variants, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and sore throat.

Caution

Reiterating that COVID-19 had become a residual health problem, Adetifa explained that it poses a threat to high-risk people such as the elderly; those with underlying chronic illnesses, especially hypertension, and diabetes; those on cancer treatment, organ transplant recipients and those whose immune systems are suppressed for one reason or the other.

Read also: US, UK other report rise in new ‘Eris’ COVID-19 infection

He urged all to:

Get Tested

All should take test for any feverish illness and respiratory symptoms irrespective of how mild. Prompt testing can help identify cases with a high risk of becoming severely ill and also provides samples for testing that provide information on circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants and disease trends.

Get vaccinated

Ensure you and your loved ones make use of every opportunity the government has provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination protects against severe disease symptoms, hospitalisation and death should you contract the virus.

Practice Good Hygiene

Continue the practice of good hand hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap under running water.

Mask up

Wear a mask if you have flu-like symptoms like coughing, sneezing etc. If you are at risk of severe disease, use a mask in crowded and other high-risk situations.

The NCDC pledged it will keep a tab on situations around the globe, especially in countries where the new variant has been confirmed, and keep Nigerians updated as may be required with scientifically sound and evidence-based information on any changes in the virus and genomics that may threaten public health.