Ebola: Four more cleared in Lagos

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 18th, 2014
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•Two doctors, nurse discharged

•U.S. hails efforts

Four Nigerians diagnosed with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have got the all-clear and discharged from the hospital.

The two male doctors, a female nurse and a patient on admission at the First Consultant Hospital when the late Patrick Sawyer was admitted, were found to be Ebola positive, bringing to five the number of Nigerians cleared of the deadly disease in the last 72 hours.

All the 12 confirmed EVD cases in Nigeria came from primary contact with tindex care – the late Liberian-American Sawyer who came into Nigeria on July 20, fell ill aboard the Asky airline plane that brought him from Lome, Togo.

He was admitted at the Obalende, Lagos hospital, where he died on July 25.

The late Sawyer was treated for two days in the hospital without medical officials taking any special protective measures. A test revealed that he had Ebola.

Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu announced the latest recovery in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Dan Nwomeh.

He said: “ The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has announced that four additional confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease who have been managed successfully and are now disease-free have been discharged home today.

“It includes two male medical doctors and one female nurse. The three participated in the treatment of the index case while the fourth person was a female patient at the time the index was on admission. This brings to five the total number of patients diagnosed with Ebola Virus Disease who have now been discharged from hospital.”

As at the weekend, the number of confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria was 12, out of which four are dead. In Lagos, 189 persons are under surveillance and six in Enugu.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who confirmed the discharge of the four patients, said only three people are now at the isolation centre for treatment.

The commissioner explained that before an Ebola patient could be discharged, such a person must have been symptom-free for three days and tested negative to the disease in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard.

He said the four patients discharged were symptom-free for three days and tested negative to the disease.

Idris added that the patients discharged would undergo periodic check-up.

He added that three new  suspected Ebola cases were being monitored and placed on surveillance to see if they would develop symptom of the disease.

Idris said two of the new suspected cases were from Lagos and had primary contact with the late Sawyer while the other one was a sample brought in from Kaduna to be tested because there is no testing facility in Kaduna State.

He said, eight doctors, nine nurses and some health workers, fully trained, are attending to patients at the Isolation Centre.

“We have infectious disease experts who have joined them from LASU. The training of people to work at the centre is rigorous. If you go into the Isolation Centre, you cannot come out from the door you came in, you exit through another door” he said.

Authorities in countries affected by Ebola were yesterday urged to check people departing at international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop any with signs of the virus from travelling. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement that the risk of getting infected with Ebola on an aircraft was small and said there was no need for wider travel or trade restrictions.

“Affected countries are requested to conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection.

“Any person with an illness consistent with EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation,” Reuters quoted WHO as saying in the statement.

The United States (U.S.) government yesterday hailed the effort of Nigerian authorities at containing the spread of EVD.

US Ambassador to Nigeria  James Entwistle said the quantity of drugs available is low.

He urged Nigeria to focus on isolation, screening and prevention.

The U.S. Ambassador, who spoke in Abuja on experimental drugs during a visit to  the  Minister of Health, said: “Those are exactly what you said – experimental. And we’ll see down the road what is possible. But they are not huge quantities now. And we think the focus now needs to be on exactly what you are doing, the isolation ward, screening and especially important that now your government is doing a very good job on this is contact tracing. I noticed that when I flew back on Thursday night into this country, before I left the plane I filled out a questionnaire. I was very impressed because I even had to put in my seat number, which is a very good idea. So if you ever have to trace the guy sitting next to me, you know where I am. So, I have been impressed by these things and I encourage the government of Nigeria to keep at it as I know they will. I always say we have a broad partnership between our two countries which means we do things together as equals to make the world a better place. I can’t think of a more important example today than our Ebola cooperation.”

Entwistle said the the visit was to discuss further on the anti-Ebola cooperation between the U.S government and the Nigeria government.

“You have all seen the headlines over the weekend; this is an issue that we have to keep working hard on, it may be with us for a while but there are some encouraging signs.

“I have been very impressed by this thing ,so, I encourage the government of Nigeria to keep at it, which I know they will,’’ he said.

The ambassador praised the work done at the emergency operation centre and the isolation centre, saying he understood that they were working hard.

Chukwu said the ambassadors’ visit was an opportunity to share ideas and information on Ebola.

The minister also said Nano Silver drug, which was made available to the Emergency Operations Centre in Lagos on August 14 did not meet basic research requirements.

Accordingly, the approval was withheld by the National Health Research Ethics Committee.

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