|Ebola News in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Minister for Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu has confirmed the existence of "ten full-blown cases of Ebola" 22 days after the virus berthed in Nigeria.He also said "177 people are currently under surveillance in Nigeria" and are being regularly checked to see if they have contracted the virus.
During a press conference on Monday, the minister recalled how Liberian-American Financial Consultant Patrick Sawyer, who was under surveillance in Liberia for a suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), evaded the authorities in Monrovia and tragically boarded a plane to Lagos Nigeria to spread the deadly disease on Nigerian soil.
“His intention was to connect to Calabar in Nigeria to attend a two-day retreat organized by the ECOWAS Commission, and later travel to the US via Atlanta Georgia to celebrate his daughter's birthday,” Chukwu said.
“However, because of the protocols initiated in all our ports since the EVD outbreak in the three countries of the sub region since March this year, Mr Sawyer was flagged at the point of disembarkation in Lagos. He was then accordingly quarantined and transferred to a hospital in Lagos, straight from the airport, for further actions.”
He said that of the initial 70 under both surveillance and isolation for suspected contact with Sawyer, 9 of them developed symptoms of Ebola and were confirmed to have EVD by the same laboratory at LUTH. Tragically, one of them, a nurse, passed away on Wednesday August 6, 2014.
He praised President Goodluck Jonathan for approving the National Ebola Virus Disease Emergency Containment Plan within the initial 48hrs of the death of the first Nigerian from EVD, with immediate cash backing of N1.9bn.
“The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies, works very closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), Unicef, the US Centre 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).”
Chukwu explained that 22 days after EVD first landed in Nigeria, 177 primary and secondary contacts of the index case have been placed under surveillance or isolation. Nine developed EVD, bringing the total number of cases in Nigeria to 10; and of these, two have died (the Liberian American and the Nigerian nurse) while eight are alive and currently on treatment.
“At the sub regional level, the EVD was discussed as a substantive agenda during the Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on the 9th of July 2014 in Accra Ghana. Nigeria played, as usual, its leading, pioneering and compassionate role during the Summit with the first and only donation of 3.5m USD humanitarian and capacity-building aid to the three affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the West African Health Organization (WAHO), and the ECOWAS Ebola Fund.
“The Liberian Government has expressed its deepest sympathies and regrets that Mr. Sawyer had even embarked on this tragic journey, which has brought needless sufferings, death and has placed an unnecessary stress on our health system. In the same spirit, we share in solidarity, the grief of the governments and people of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone as we confront this challenge together.
“Finally, I wish to reiterate that, the Federal Government of Nigeria, shall continue to discharge its responsibilities within the sub region as we collectively confront and stop this outbreak of Ebola.”