Ebola virus: Doctor, two others taken into isolation
50 on high risk
60 on contact list ‘can’t be traced’
Three people – a doctor, a pharmacist and another person – among those who had primary contact with the late Dr. Ikechukwu Sam Enemuo, the first Ebola victim in Rivers State, have been quarantined after showing symptoms of the virus.
The results of their tests are, however, still being awaited. The late doctor Emenuo’s widow, who has tested positive to the virus, is receiving treatment in Lagos.
Rivers State Commissioner for Health Dr. Sampson Parker broke the news yesterday in an update on the outbreak of Ebola in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s major oil hub and the second city after Lagos to be hit by the virus in Nigeria.
The late Dr. Enemuo contracted the virus and died on August 22 in Port Harcourt. He became the sixth Nigerian to die of the virus after secretly treating a Nigerian official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Oluibukun Koye, in a hotel in Port Harcourt.
Koye, who contracted Ebola after having primary contact with the Index case in Nigeria Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, escaped from quarantine in Lagos to Port Harcourt where he was treated by Dr. Enemuo.
While Koye is free of the virus, Dr. Enemuo, Chief Medical Director of Samsteel Hospital in Rumuokoro, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, died of the virus.
He was the third medical doctor to die of the virus.
The commissioner said the doctor and pharmacist started managing Enemuo’s case at his hospital, before he was moved to Good Hart Hospital, where he died.
Also moved to the quarantine centre, according to the commissioner, is a patient who was on admission at the Good Hart Hospital where Enemuo was admitted until he died. Results of their samples were being awaited.
The commissioner said 50 among the 200 people on the contact tracing list are classified to be high risk while 60 of them could not be reached even on the telephone. Some of them, he said, are people who had direct contact with Dr. Enemuo at his hospital after he contracted the virus.
Parker announced other measures taken by the Rivers State Government to include: banning movement of bodies within and outside the state, bagging of Dr. Enemuo’s body and decontaminating the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital morgue and the attendants placed under watch; a meeting by Governor Chibuike Amaechi with religious leaders today and traditional rulers tomorrow, to sensitise them and mobilise them on how to educate their followers and subjects on the virus.
The commissioner assured residents of the governments’ readiness to fight the disease in collaboration with the Federal Government’s Ebola Emergency Response team and international agencies and NGOs, including, WHO and Doctors Without Border (MSF).
He warned against unnecessary body contacts and indiscriminate laying of hands on people by religious leaders.
Parker said: “Anyone that had any form of contact with the late Dr. Enemuo should please come up; Ebola is curable if diagnosed early, people have survived it and more people will. So, there is no need to run away.
“It is important that churches close their secret admission wards in their various places of worship. Some of them are running into churches and pastors are laying hands on them, it is wrong even on their and family’s health.
“Movement of bodies within and outside the state must be supervised. Death certificates must be produced to ascertain the cause of death and the state Ministry of Health must give approval before a body is allowed to move.
“The UPTH morgue has been decontaminated. However all the bodies there must be buried under supervision, especially those that were there at the same time with Dr. Enemuo’s.”
Parker said Dr. Enemuo’s body had been bagged and the morgue decontaminated while the attendants have been placed under watch.
Also decontaminated are the hospitals in which the late Enemuo was treated, the Mandate Garden Hotel, Rumudamanya, where he treated his patient, Koye and his residence. Parker said the places are now safe for access by people, but the hospitals are not yet receiving patients.