Voice of America (Washington, DC)

30 July 2014

Nigeria Tracking 30,000 People at Risk of Contracting Ebola

Photo: Aminata.com
File photo.

Washington, DC — Nigerian health authorities are in the process of tracing more than 30,000 people who could be at risk of contracting Ebola, after the virus surfaced in Lagos.

The authorities have confirmed that a Liberian man who died in Lagos last Friday tested positive for Ebola, Reuters reported.

After the discovery, the hospital that dealt with Nigeria's first known Ebola victim was closed.

Professor Sunday Omilabu, from Lagos University Teaching Hospital, told Reuters the health authorities are now tracing everyone who may have had contact with the victim.

"We've been making contacts. We now have information about the manifest. We have information about who and who were around. So, as I'm talking, our teams are in the facility, where they've trained the staff, and then they (are) now asking questions about those that were closely in contact with the patient," said Professor Omilabu.

'We're actually looking at contacting over 30,000 people in this very scenario. Because any and everybody that has contacted this person is going to be treated as a suspect," said Yewande Adeshina, a public health adviser.

Nigeria's government has implemented a state of "red alert" at all border crossings and initiated a media campaign to alert the public.

Officials say that the nation's healthcare system is equipped to deal with any outbreak and that medical staff are properly trained.

Airline precautions

Elsewhere, Pan-African airline ASKY suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone over the worsening Ebola health crisis, as the Liberian football association said it halted all activities in the country, the French news agency AFP reported on Tuesday.

The highly contagious and often fatal disease spreads among humans via bodily fluids, including sweat, meaning one can get sick from touching an infected person.

Also, Decontee Sawyer, the American widow of a Liberian government official who died after contracting Ebola, spoke with the Associated Press about her husband's death and her efforts to highlight the dangers of the virus.

Sawyer, speaking from her home in Coon Rapids, in the U.S. state of Minnesota, told the AP that her husband, Patrick Sawyer, had planned to come home for two of his three daughters' birthdays next month.

She had learned that her husband caught the disease from his sister, who fell ill and died of Ebola. He did not know at the time that she had Ebola, Sawyer told the AP, as the virus shares symptoms with other diseases including malaria.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

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InFocus

Nigeria Govt to Trace Those at Risk of Ebola

File photo.

Authorities are in the process of tracing 30, 000 people who may be at risk of contracting the Ebola disease.   Read more »