25 July 2014

Nigeria: Suspected Ebola Patient Dies in Lagos

Abuja — The man identified as Patrick Sawyer, arrived Lagos last Sunday from Liberia and died on Thursday night at the First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos, said state officials.

However, during a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the patient died on Friday morning.

"Despite the urgent specialised barrier nursing care provided for the patient in a Lagos Hospital, the patient unfortunately passed away in the early hours of July 25, 2014," Mr. Chukwu said.

Mr Sawyer, an employee of the Liberian Ministry of Finance, came to Lagos to attend a conference.

Mr. Chukwu said the Federal Ministry of Health was alerted on a suspected case of the disease involving a 40-year old male travelling from Monrovia, Liberia to Nigeria on Asky Airline via Lome to Lagos on Tuesday.

He said the passenger had fever and other symptoms of the disease at the airport was quickly isolated by Port Health Division officials and transported to the hospital.

He said the patient was subjected to thorough medical and laboratory evaluation which confirmed the diagnosis of the disease. Mr. Sawyer was said to be in a stable condition earlier on Thursday and plans were being made to return him to Liberia but his condition got worse in the evening.

The result of tests conducted on Mr. Sawyer was still being awaited before he died.

The minister however reassured the public that the Ministry of Health was presently working with other ministries, agencies and international organizations to prevent the disease spread.

He said that all passengers that the patient came in contact with have been traced and are also being investigated medically. Lagos State health officials said the hospital where the man died has been cordoned off and about thirty people believed to have had contact with him quarantined.

Mr. Chukwu said, in line with global best practices, all ports entry in Nigeria including airports, seaports and land boarders have been placed on red alert as staff of the ministry of health are already positioned in the locations and surveillance beefed up.

He also said that tertiary health institutions in Nigeria have been equipped to handle any emergency that may arise from the disease.

Also, drugs and medical consumables are pre-positioned while the health ministry is working with all the states across Nigeria to contain the situation.

However, the minister admonished Nigerians to be vigilant, ensure personal and environmental hygiene and also report any suspected case to the nearest health facility.

He also said that emergency operation centre have been established and coordinated by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, advising Nigerians to call 08023210923, 08097979595 and 07067352220; or email ebolainfo@health.gov.ng for inquiries.

The epicentre of Ebola is Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where more than 900 people have been infected so far with the deadly virus with 630 deaths. There is no drug or vaccine to treat the virus and it has up to 90 per cent fatality rate.

Ebola is transmitted from fruit bats and apes to humans who hunt them for food and is further spread to other humans when they come in contact with the blood or body fluid of an infected person.

Symptoms include, fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and bloody rashes all over the body.

Lagos State government issued an alert last week advising people to observe high hygienic standard including washing of hand and thoroughly washing and cooking their meat before eating.

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