Liberian with Ebola-like symptoms dies in Lagos

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Jul 25th, 2014
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The  Liberian who was  hospitalised in Lagos for suspected  Ebola virus has  died, the Lagos State government announced  yesterday.

The  Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris,his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina and the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy Mr. Raji Lateef  confirmed to reporters that  the Lberian, Patrick Sawyer, 40, tested positive to Ebola virus disease in the test conducted in the country.

He was a consultant to his country’s ministry of finace.

He arrived in Nigeria  on Sunday and was admitted to hospital after suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

He was subsequently quarantined   because his symptoms were associated with the virus which has killed more than 650 people across West Africa in recent months, the worst-ever outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976.

Dr.Idris  said the immediate task before government now is now to dispose of the body ‘properly’  and identify  and treat everyone  who had  contact with the deceased.

He said: ”There is  protocol.The people involved, we are talking with the hospital involved, the staff  over there.After dealing with the body we have to deal with the hospital, to sanitize the hospital, more importantly too there is the need for us to do contact tracing. We are doing that with the World Health Organization people .We are going to trace all the contacts that the man came in with on the air plane ,where they went to.

“ Since we have got the manifest , we are going to trace all of them .Ech one of them is going to be questioned.There is protocol for questioning  and they are going to be followed in the next 21 days to see if any one of them develops  any symptom.This is what we are in the process of doing. “

He said appropriate personnel have been deployed at the borders, seaports and  airports in Lagos with a view to ensuring that infected people are not allowed to spread the virus.

Idris urged Lagos residents not to panic over the situation, saying treatment centers will be set up to deal with possible spread of the disease.

Liberia has recorded 172 cases of the disease, including 105 deaths, since the outbreak began.

Experts say that limiting the spread of the virus in a chaotic mega-city like Lagos  poses added complications compared to infections in more rural areas.

Ebola is believed to be carried by animals hunted for meat, notably bats.

It spreads among humans via bodily fluids including sweat, meaning you can get sick from simply touching an infected person.

With no vaccine, patients believed to have caught the virus must be isolated to prevent further contagion.

In Sierra Leone, officials yesterday appealed for help to trace the first known resident in the capital with Ebola whose family forcibly removed her from a Freetown hospital after testing positive for the deadly disease.

Radio stations in Freetown, a city of around 1 million inhabitants, broadcast the appeal to locate a woman who tested positive for the disease that has killed 660 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since an outbreak was first identified in February.

“Saudatu Koroma of 25 Old Railway Line, Brima Lane, Wellington,” the announcement said. “She is a positive case and her being out there is a risk to all. We need the public to help us locate her.”

Koroma, 32, a resident of the densely populated Wellington neighbourhood, had been admitted to an isolation ward while blood samples were tested for the virus, Health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis. The results came back on Thursday.

“The family of the patient stormed the hospital and forcefully removed her and took her away,” Tunis said. “We are searching for her.”

Fighting one of the world’s deadliest diseases is straining the region’s weak health systems, while a lack of information and suspicion of medical staff has led many to shun treatment.

Earlier this year, a man in Freetown tested positive for Ebola although he is believed to have caught it elsewhere.

According to health ministry data and officials, dozens of people confirmed by laboratory tests to have Ebola are now unaccounted for in Sierra Leone, where the majority of cases have been recorded in the country’s east.

While international medical organisations have deployed experts to the field in an attempt to contain the outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said poor health infrastructure and a lack of manpower were hindering their efforts.

“We’re seeing many of these facilities simply don’t have enough people to provide the constant level of care needed,” WHO spokesman Paul Garwood told a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, which causes diarrhoea, vomiting and internal and external bleeding. It can kill up to 90 percent of those infected, although the mortality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent.

The West African outbreak is the first time that Ebola, which was first discovered in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, has appeared in heavily populated urban areas and international travel hubs.

Cases have already been confirmed in Conakry and Monrovia, the capital cities of Guinea and Liberia.

The Nigeria Medical Association, (NMA) Lagos Chapter, yesterday offered to partner the Lagos State government on the suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease to prevent an outbreak.

Its chairman, Dr Tayo Ojo ,speaking  at the inaugural briefing of the newly elected executives of the association in Lagos said the association owes it a duty ensure that the state is free of the virus.

But he advised the public  to imbibe environmental and personal hygiene culture.


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