ebolaThe scourge of the Ebola virus in Nigeria has thrown up a lot of issues. Aside government’s spirited efforts to contain the spread of the virus, there have been a rise in weird and comical angles to it on the social media. Damola Adeoye picks up some of them.

With the death of Liberian diplomat, Patrick Sawyer, and the subsequent death of a Nigerian nurse who cared for him, Nigerian authorities and, indeed, all Nigerians may have been alerted to the grim realities of the dreaded Ebola virus. Though the disease has been ravaging Liberia, Guinea and Sierra-Leone with their governments already declaring an emergency in the health sector, the reactions of Nigerians to the appearance of the virus in the country have grown from a stupefied one to one, somewhat weird and downright comical.

New Ebola greeting styles

With medical experts advising against shaking hands and/or avoiding physical contact with people, Nigerians have found a way to create comic skits out of the situation.

On Facebook, several pictures depicting ways of greeting each other are now trending. The pictures show people bent on avoiding the traditional handshake, now greeting each other with their backsides touching one another. Others stand far apart, one hand waving, another covering their nose.

Bathing with salted water

Another trending picture on Facebook is that of people bathing with salted water. From an individual adding salt to his bathing water to a baby placed inside a pot on a gas cooker with salt about to be poured on his body, the pictures couldn’t be more funny. That action, it is believed, may have been prompted by viral messages received by Nigerians on their phones. While there are several accounts of the source of that information, salted water bath is now a new fad. Though the government has come out to deny the claim that salt water bath is curative for Ebola, many Nigerians still believe it may hold the solution to the dreaded disease.

How is Ebola transmitted?

According to information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the virus is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

It is then spread in the human community through human-to-human transmission with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery.

As the nation continues the battle to halt the spread of the killer virus, the big questions may then be: Will people continue to avoid handshakes now, even if extremely difficult to do so? Will they continually bathe with salted water throughout the duration of this scourge? Many questions, limited answers!

Courtesy of www.tribune.com.ng

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