Another nurse tests positive
•177 in isolation, watch •Nigeria has 10 cases
Health Minister Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu said yesterday Nigeria has recorded 10 cases of infected persons with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Of the 10, two have died, he said.
The dead, the minister said, are the first patient, the late Liberian-America’s Mr Patrick Sawyer, and the Lagos nurse who treated him.
Another nurse, he said, has tested positive to the virus and was undergoing treatment.
The minister spoke on the deadly disease and government’s efforts to curtail its spread.
He said 177 primary and secondary contacts of the index case had been placed under surveillance or isolation after 22 days of the EVD outbreak in Nigeria.
Chukwu said: “Of these 10, two have died; that is, the Liberian-American, Mr Patrick Sawyer and the Nigerian nurse. Eight are alive on treatment.”
The disease, he said, was discussed at a sub-regional level as a substantive agenda during the Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government in July in Accra, Ghana.
Nigeria, the minister said, played a leading role with the first and only donation of $3.5 million (N500 million) humanitarian and capacity building aid to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, all in West Africa, the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and the ECOWAS Ebola Fund.
He said the Liberian government had expressed sympathies and regrets that the late Sawyer embarked on the tragic journey, which has brought sufferings, death and stress to Nigeria’s health system.
Chukwu said: “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.”
The minister said the government would continue to discharge its responsibilities as the sub-region confronts the Ebola outbreak.
He said President Jonathan approved the National Ebola Virus Disease Emergency Containment Plan with cash backing of N1.9 billion ($12 million) to complement the containment efforts already in place.
Chukwu said the Federal Government, through its Ministry of Health and its agencies, had been working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC), local authorities and other international partners to deepen and broaden the containment efforts.
He said: “We will continue to work with all stakeholders, local and international partners to maximise and intensify efforts to contain and treat the existing cases.”
Chukwu explained that those under surveillance did not have any symptom but were being monitored daily. The minister said the team visited 144 of those under surveillance to take their temperature and ask questions in line with the WHO template.
Although he did not rule out the possibility of those who had direct (primary) contacts with Sawyer to still be symptomatic, Chukwu said their incubation period was over.
He also said besides the N1.9 billion fund the Federal Government provided, the government had also donated $3.5 million to fight the virus in the three Ebola-ravaged countries.
On the use of trial drugs on Ebola patients in United States (U.S), the minister explained that there was nothing wrong administering the trial drugs on patents, especially under the present condition, as long as it is with the consent of the patient.
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