Nigeria reports first Ebola virus death, hunts for other suspects

Nigeria reports first Ebola virus death, hunts for other suspects

Friday, July 25, 2014 7:58 pm

Nigeria has reported the first death from Ebola virus.

The victim was a Liberian, identified as Patrick Sawyer.

Forty-year old  Sawyer, a WASH Consultant  in Liberia died at the First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Thursday after being confirmed to have contacted the EVD before landing in Lagos. WASH is a UNICEF programme. The acronym simply means: The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme .

Sawyer  was said to be on his way to Calabar from Lagos when he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital but was diagnosed with traces of EVD.

The Lagos state  government  was alerted by the hospital.

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Ebola: quarantine officers at work in Congo

With the victim’s death, the Lagos government is now desperately searching for Sawyer’s co-travellers from Lome, Togo. The co-travellers were believed to be in Calabar, in south-south Nigeria.

 At a news conference on Friday evening, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said the government is trying to get the contact of those who were in the plane with the victim en-route from Lome to Lagos.

  The commissioner confirmed that the Ebola patient has died and that test conducted on him confirmed that he died of Ebola Virus.

“The patience has died, ever since we heard of the issue, we have tried to sanitize and dispose of the body properly. We are doing it in line with the Federal Ministry of Health, we are dealing with the hospital and we need to deal with those he got in contact with,” he said.

Idris said the government was still trying to get the manifest and ensure that co-travellers with the victim were properly screened and observed for at least 21 days to ensure that they were not carrying the trace of the disease in order to check its spread.

The commissioner added that government was still discussing with the relevant bodies to ensure strict border control to prevent spread of the disease, adding that there was the need to contact the Liberian authority also.

Idris stated that the Centre for Disease Control Prevention, CDC, in America “has stepped in to volunteer.  UNICEF has stepped in, we have contacted  screening centre set up, we have the Federal Ministry of Health assisting us with laboratory. All stake holders are involved. We are confident that the step we are taking will stop further propagation of the disease.

“We plead with the media not to spread scary message so as not to spread panic. We have everything under control to ensure that it does not spread beyond what it is presently. You have to ensure proper hand washing, if you know anybody who has travelled to Liberia where the virus is established, report to us, we will set up treatment centre for probable symptoms,” he stated.

 According to Idris, “people should not panic, there is no need to panic.  One thing is clear, the hospital in Obalende did the right thing by contacting us. We are taking everything necessary to curtail this from spreading. The committee set up will hold meeting daily on this issue. So far, we are lucky the man went to the health facility immediately.”

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