Monday, 11 August 2014

Ebola: 10 Nigerians now infected


The Nigerian Government on Monday in Abuja said it has recorded 10 cases of Ebola Viral Disease, 22 days after the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, brought the disease into Nigeria.

Speaking at a briefing, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said 177 primary and secondary contacts of the index case have been isolated.

He said 10 people, including late Mr. Sawyer, have been diagnosed with the virus in Nigeria.

Mr. Chukwu said two of the 10 have died (the Liberian and a Nigerian nurse who treated him) while 8 are alive and currently receiving treatment.

The female, yet-to-be named, Nigerian nurse died last Wednesday in Lagos while Mr. Sawyer died on July 24.

Mr. Sawyer on July 20 evaded authorities in Monrovia after he was placed under surveillance for the deadly disease.

He came into Lagos, Nigeria on his way to Calabar for a two-day retreat organized by the ECOWAS Commission. He was also supposed to travel to Atlanta Georgia, USA, to celebrate his daughter’s birthday in the same week.

He later died at First Consultant Hospital Obalende, Lagos on July 24.

Mr. Chukwu noted that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the National Ebola Virus Disease Emergency Containment Plan with an immediate cash backing of N1.9 billion with 48 hours of the death of the first Nigerian to be killed by the virus.

He said this complements the containment efforts already in place.

He also said the Nigerian government, through the ministry of health, works with international organisations to strengthen these containment efforts.

“The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies, works very closely with the World Health Organization, WHO, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, local authorities and other international partners to further deepen and broaden these containment efforts.

“We shall single out the WHO and the CDC for special commendation for their understanding and continuous support in this challenging moment; particularly for the partnership and most importantly for the capacity building of our Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC,”Mr. Chukwu said.

Mr. Chukwu said although the Liberian government has apologized for the incidence, it was pertinent to note that Nigeria was free of Ebola Virus until its importation by Mr. Sawyer which he said “has placed an unnecessary stress on our health system.”

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