Ebola Is Not A Threat To Nigeria- Maku
The Federal Government has assured that the Ebola Virus Disease, is not a threat to the country, despite the death of two persons since the index case recorded in Lagos.
It also stated that only 10 out of the198 persons identified as primary and secondary contacts with the late Liberian carrier, Patrick Sawyer have tested positive to the virus.
Briefing journalists at the State House Abuja, on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku noted that 198 persons are currently under watch by the ministry of health to contain further spread of the disease.
Of the 198 persons under surveillance , 177 of them are in Lagos with 21 in Enugu, following the refusal of the nurse who treated the late Sawyer, to heed warnings against traveling .
The Minister who disclosed that the nurse is dead, however told journalists that her family and others who had direct contact with her are being quarantined in other stations across the state.
“All those who had primary contact have been quarantined. Secondary contacts have also been traced.
“So far the number of people that have been traced is 198. Out of this number, 177 are in Lagos and are being traced. Some are in quarantine, some are being monitored by health specialists.
21 persons in Enugu are also being watched. This is because one of the nurses that was involved with the treatment of the index case, unfortunately, disobeyed medical instructions and somehow travelled to Enugu. All those who she was in contact with including her husband are under quarantine. The medical team have been able to trace all those who made contact with her” Maku said.
The government has also asked members of the public to discountenance rumours and unverified reports over the Ebola epidemic as the government is operating on top gear towards ensuring the scourge does not blow out of its incubation period that ends today.
“Health workers are now in all our border units. All the entry points into this country and exit points, we have port health workers that are working in our airports and seaports.
“We are calling on citizens specifically to cooperate. If health workers say you have had contact with A,B,C, don’t move to anywhere, respect that judgement. Its very important. In one or two cases where we have had disobedience, we lost one of them and this one now moved with it to another place (Enugu). So we are urging Nigerians, please to help us in making sure that all these messages and appeals we are making on you, we implement them” he said.
According to him, though the measures have been communicated to state governors, they have been reinvited to be briefed by the federal government on further collaboration to stamp out the disease from Nigeria.
He said though the disease has no recorded cure, the government is ensuring that it does not breakout in Nigeria as its in Congo since 1976 when the first out break was reported .
In terms of possible treatment Maku noted that “the ministry of health set up a special committee specifically to take claims from Nigerians who believe they could help and so far we have had a lot of reports from Nigerians at home and abroad who come forward to say look they have possibility of developing therapies that could help in fighting the virus. There is no cure so far, anywhere in the world. Even the trial drug in the US is still a trial drug, its not been established.
“One of the doctors and research experts that came forward was Dr Simon Agwale who has been one of the frontline global researchers on developing vaccines for HIV and other viral diseases. He also came forward and said he could help, both in terms of working out to develop a vaccine, which he said he has started work on between himself and his fellow experts in the US and he said this is ongoing. The minister of health has given support and directed him to the committee. He also discussed the possibility of certain therapy which could be applied. And again that is being discussed. And once it is approved, it could be used”.
Meanwhile, the President has launched automatic hand Sanitizers to be stationed in startegic places for private and public use.
Jonathan launched the sanitisers with Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola as co launchers being a host of the most infected of the Ebola virus.