Initial Reactions to the News about Ebola Virus in a Rural Community in Nigeria: Lessons Learned
The Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 and the messages that followed disorganized people and generated panic in rural communities in Nigeria. Thispaper presents the authorâ€™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 â€˜drink and bathe with warm water treated with common table saltâ€™. The news was widely spread in the community, probably because of a sense of obligation to protect relatives, friends, and well â€“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.