My man, by wife of Ebola victim who died in Lagos

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In Nigeria
Jul 29th, 2014
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Hospital explains how it handled Sawyer’s case

Airline kicks against ban

MORE facts emerged yesterday on the identity of the Ebola virus victim whose death last week in Lagos set off a chain of reactions.

Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota, United States, to celebrate his daughters’ birthdays: a conference Calabar, Cross River State.

But when he landed in Lagos, Sawyer, 40, collapsed getting off the plane. He had been infected with Ebola in Liberia, where he worked as a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance.

Sawyer was isolated at a Lagos hospital on July 20. He died five days later.

Sawyer’s wife Decontee Sawyer, lives in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, with the couple’s three young daughters, five-year-old Eva, four-year-old Mia, and Bella, who is one. The Sawyers are naturalized citizens; their daughters were born in the United States.

“He was so proud when he became a U.S. citizen,” Decontee told CNN. “He voted for first time in the last U.S. presidential election. He lived in the U.S. for many years, and wanted that for Liberia — a better democracy.”

Sawyer is the first American to die in what health officials are calling the “deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.” His death has sparked concerns that the virus could potentially spread to the United States.

“People weren’t really taking it [Ebola] seriously until it hit Patrick,” Decontee said. “People are ready to take action.”

His wife, 34, is said to be devastated at the thought of how close Sawyer came to returning home to the U.S. for his daughters’ birthdays carrying the dreaded virus.

“It’s a global problem because Patrick could’ve easily come home with Ebola,” Decontee said to KSTP. “Easy. Easy. It’s close, it’s at our front door. It knocked down my front door.”

The Sawyer family is working with their church community to start “Concerned Liberians against Ebola,” Decontee said. Their goal is to raise $500,000 to help two international organizations: Samaritan’s Purse and Global Health Ministry.

The risk of travellers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions, such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva, experts say.

Ebola can’t be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

According to the Mail Online, witnesses said Sawyer was vomiting and had diarrhea aboard at least one of his flights with some 50 other passengers aboard.

Ebola can be contracted from traces of faeces or vomit, experts say.

Sawyer was immediately quarantined upon arrival in Lagos and Nigerian authorities say his fellow travellers were advised of Ebola’s symptoms and then were allowed to leave.

Decontee learned Sawyer was sick with Ebola on July 24 and then on July 25 she was told her husband of six years had passed away from the virus.

Liberia has suspended all football activities in an effort to control the spread of the deadly virus.

There was a risk of infection because football is a contact sport, the football association said.

The number of people killed by the virus in West Africa has now reached 672, according to new United Nations (UN) figures.

A major regional airliner, Asky, said it had halted flights to the Liberian and Sierra Leonean capitals because of growing concerns about the virus. It has been banned from flying into Nigeria.

It is the second airline company to take such a decision, following the deadliest Ebola outbreak.

Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.


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