Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:09 pm
A Nigerian nurse infected with the Ebola virus has died, the second confirmed fatality from the disease in Africa’s most populous nation and leading oil producer, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.
The nurse, the first native Nigerian to die from the disease, had been involved in the treatment of Patrick Sawyer, a Liberia and U.S. citizen who died of Ebola in Lagos last month shortly after arriving at the airport.
Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told reporters five other cases were being treated at an isolation ward in Lagos.
The World Health Organisation had reported eight cases of infection, one of which affected the medical doctor, a woman, at the First Consultant Hospital.
On Tuesday, an official of the Lagos state government denied the death of the female medical doctor.
The doctor had treated the Liberian victim that died of the disease after arriving in Nigeria still alive.
Addressing newsmen on updates on the issue at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris noted that the female medical doctor who attended to the index case of Ebola Virus Disease at a private hospital in Lagos is the only confirmed case to date out of the eight primary contact under clinical surveillance and care.
“Her being infected is largely due to the fact that she was a primary contact when the index case presented. At that point in time, the disease was not known to have been imported into the country”, Idris explained.
He stressed that the essence of the briefing is to highlight the mode of transmission of Ebola Virus Disease stressing that the disease is transmissible through direct contact with broken skin, mucous membranes and secretions of an infected person or through direct contact with materials and surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person.
“This is a call for vigilance as human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from Ebola virus through body fluids such as blood, urine, stool, saliva, breast milk and semen. Burial ceremonies where mourners including family members have direct contact with patients who died of Ebola have also played a role in the spread of the disease”, Idris said.
The Commissioner noted that in Africa, infection has also occurred through the handling of infected chimpanzees, monkeys, guerillas, fruit bats, antelopes and porcupine adding that there has been no case of transmission by domestic animals like pigs.
He urged everyone to be vigilant especially with regard to relating with people who are ill, stressing that there is no cause to panic as long as basic precautionary measures such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal and environmental hygiene are adhered to.