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Marychristiana E. UzochukwuPublished Mar 17, 2018
PhD, CHES®, CHC, FRSPH
The Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 and the messages that followed disorganized people and generated panic in rural communities in Nigeria. Thispaper presents the author’s eyewitness report on the initial reactions of people to the outbreak of Ebola virus in a rural community in Enugu, State, Nigeria; the ways people experienced the news about the outbreak; and lessonslearnedabout acquisition and dissemination of health information in rural communities. People claimed that they received what they consideredto be a body preservation message from their church leaders- pastors,priests and others. The message was for people to ‘drink and bathe with warm water treated with common table salt’. The news was widely spread in the community, probably because of a sense of obligation to protect relatives, friends, and well –wishers. Word of mouth was effective in disseminating messages related to Ebola in a rural community, people were obligated to help and protect one another in this rural community, church leaders can be used effectively in disseminating health information in rural areas, there is a need to train church leaders on how to handle disease outbreaks and provide them accurate information, andpeople were doing what they believed it would take to survive-they improved sanitation and personal hygiene practicesand stopped participation in key cultural activities in efforts to avoid direct contact with other people.