5 August 2014

Nigeria: Suspected Ebola Patients Quarantined At Lagos Hospital

Photo: Samaritans Purse
An Ebola patient in the isolation ward (file photo).

Lagos and Abuja — It was disclosed Tuesday that the eight patients currently under clinical surveillance and care are being quarantined at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos.

Also, the Lagos State Government Tuesday affirmed that the female medical doctor who tested positive to the Ebola virus after treating a Liberian diplomat victim that died of the disease after arriving in Nigeria is still alive.

The State Government also disclosed that it has started compiling a list of all the primary and secondary contacts of the Nigerian female doctor who contracted Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from late Liberian, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease.

On his part, President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered immediate procurement of protective clothing and essential equipment for healthcare workers.

According to a Presidency source, he has als lauded efforts of Lagos State government in handling the Ebola menace.

" The President, therefore, directed federal health workers to work with their Lagos counterparts and officials as well as the National Orientation Agency to start a nationwide enlightenment campaign on preventive measures," the source added.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has pledged $200 million (N32 billion) to help contain the deadly Ebola virus causing panic across West Africa.

Besides, Nigerian physicians and surgeons in the U.S. have pledged support to the Federal Government in the fight against the disease.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris yesterday at a press briefing in Lagos, noted that the quarantined patients under State's health surveillance are all persons who have personal contacts with the initial patient that came from Liberia.

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 contacts 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.

Idris also appealed to the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and other health associations to sheathe their swords and join the team to fight the scourge, adding that volunteers from the health professions are welcomed to join in the effort to halt the spread of the disease.

He added that the Rapid Response Team on Ebola had been in communication with these patients who developed fever and other symptom, stressing that team is continuously tracking the patients.

"The contacts remain in isolation until confirmatory test results are in and those of them who test positive for Ebola will remain in isolation until they are no longer infectious", the commissioner explained.

He noted that the occurrences of secondary cases disease was expected giving the nature of contacts these persons had with the patient from Liberia, adding that this was because they were unaware of his status until the management of the hospital reported their suspicions to the state government.

Idris stated that the investigation team is in communication with family members and other contacts of the new suspect cases; to counsel them and monitor their health status

He explained that the state has established an isolation and treatment centre to hospitalise patients detected to have the disease, stressing that workers at the isolation and treatment centre have also received training in infection control procedures for Ebola.

Idris said: "Contact tracing is essential and very important to stop the spread of Ebola Virus Disease. In the case of the newly infected person, we have contacted her family and have opened comprehensive lists of both primary and secondary contacts of the newly infected person.

"There is no panic as long as basic precautionary measures such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal/environmental hygiene are adhered to. This is a call for everyone to be vigilant, especially with regard to relating with people who are ill."

Idris reiterated that Ebola transmission was through direct contact with an infected person or body fluids of an infected person, stressing that individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious.

"For more information, health care workers and concern public can call 0800EBOLAHELP or 080032652357. Controlling the spread of Ebola throughout Nigeria is of utmost concern and a national emergency. All citizens need support the effort to stop the spread of this disease", Idris said.

The World Bank said Monday that it would provide up to $200 million to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help the West African nations contain the deadly outbreak.

World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, himself an expert on infectious diseases, said he has been monitoring the spread of the virus and was "deeply saddened" at how it was contributing to the breakdown of "already weak health systems in the three countries."

The funding will help provide medical supplies, pay healthcare staff and take care of other priorities to contain the epidemic and try to prevent future outbreaks, the World Bank said.

The bank made the announcement as African leaders, including 35 presidents, are visiting Washington for a U.S.-Africa summit.

Also, hope of finding a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus has shifted to a California-based biotech company whose experimental drug has been used to treat two American missionary workers.

The drug, developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, was used to treat two aid workers, one from the Samaritan's Purse group and the other from Christian mission group, SIM USA, who were exposed to the disease in Liberia, according to a U.S. government health official.

Under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Physicians in the America (ANPA), the medical experts called on West African countries not to see travel ban as an option to curb Ebola, stressing that such an action would create more hardship for the people of the region.

The ANPA's President, Nkem Chukwumerije in a statement, stressed: "ANPA would like to assure our fellow citizens that our association will continue to maintain direct contact with authorities in Nigeria with a view to gathering up-to-date information and offering our scientific and technical resources, as well as support and advice if and when needed over Ebola disease."

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