NMA: Hospital matron shows Ebola symptoms

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 5th, 2014
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Another medical official who attended to Liberian Patrick Sawyer in Lagos hospital now has symptoms of Ebola virus, Lagos doctors said yesterday.

Sawyer, who flew into Lagos on July 20, died five days later of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) at the First Consultant Hospital in Obalende, Lagos.

A doctor who attended to him in the hospital has been declared Ebola-hit.

Chairman of Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Dr. Tope Ojo, said yesterday that the matron of the hospital now exhibits symptoms of Ebola.

He also said doctors need the assurance of their safety while attending to suspected Ebola cases.

The lagos State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris has said eight persons’ test results –some of those who had primary contact with the Liberian- are being awaited.

Dr. Ojo, said though the infected doctor is stable, the matron of the First Consultant Hospital, who also attended to the Liberian virus carrier, is now showing the symptoms.

“But everybody, including the WHO, is doing all we can to salvage the situation.

He added: “Strike or no strike, we must respond to emergencies. Our doctors are at the hospital in Yaba. There are seven committees working on the management of the disease at the centre in Lagos. Our members are part of the committees.

“But the committee is having challenges getting volunteers in case management. These are the people that work directly with confirmed and suspected cases.

“Look at the overall kits doctors in Liberia and Guinea wear. They are well protected, yet some of them still caught the virus. Our doctors are worried about the danger it poses to their lives and they need to be reassured. We understand their fears and we are making moves to confirm the level of preparedness of the government for doctors.”

The state NMA Secretary, Dr Saheed Babajide, said: “Not all doctors can attend to an Ebola patient. In fact, you must limit the number of health workers treating affected persons just to contain the risk.

“We will be escalating the situation if doctors rush to Mainland Hospital just to attend to patients.”

Nigeria is considering applying experimental drugs on the Ebola-hit woman doctor, who is lying ill in a Lagos hospital, it was learnt yesterday.

The government is considering applying for the experimental Ebola therapy given to two Americans to treat the doctor who contracted the virus after treating Liberian Patrick Sawyer, who died of  Ebola virus on July 25. The woman is receiving care in Lagos, most likely at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, in Yaba.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health Dr. jide Idris said yesterday: “We will exploit the possibility of getting some.” Idris said. “There are protocols involved.”

San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.’s experimental ZMapp drug had only been tested on infected animals before it was given to Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, U.S. health workers who were infected with the virus in Liberia.

The woman doctor is Nigeria’s only confirmed case of Ebola, which has sickened 1,603 people in West Africa, killing 887, according to the World Health Organisation. Most of the cases are in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Nigeria is monitoring seven other people who came into contact with Sawyer.

“While appreciating the various health workers who have selflessly committed to this cause in the areas of contact tracing, case management, decontamination etc, this is a clarion call for all volunteer health workers – doctors, nurses, environmental health workers, phlebotomists to complement our workforce.

“I appeal to striking doctors to return to work and to other health workers to sheathe their swords and embrace team work. We also count on the cooperation of the good people of Lagos State as your government, in partnership with the Federal Government, may need to in the course of taking decisions in the overriding interest of the public.”

Idris said the government had started compiling a comprehensive list of all the primary and secondary contacts of the doctor.

He dispelled the rumour that the infected patient was dead.

“Contact tracing is essential and very important to stop the spread of Ebola Virus Disease. In the case of the infected person, we have contacted her family and have opened comprehensive lists of both primary and secondary contacts of the newly infected person.

“There is no panic as long as basic precautionary measures, such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal/environmental hygiene, are adhered to. This is a call for everyone to be vigilant, especially with regard to relating with people who are ill.

“We need to again highlight the mode of transmission of Ebola Virus Disease. Once a person is infected with Ebola, the disease is transmissible through direct contact with broken skin, mucous membrane and secretions of an infected person or through direct contact with materials and surfaces that have been contaminated by the infected person.

“This is a call for vigilance as human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from Ebola Virus through body fluids, such as urine, stool, saliva, breast milk and semen.”

He urged health workers in the state to reconsider their decision to continue with the ongoing strike, saying it would be more difficult to control the spread of the deadly Ebola virus if indigenous health workers shy away from helping the suspected and infected cases.

Lagos doctors, however, said the strike would not stop them from attending to person suspected to have contracted EVB.

The blood samples result of the six persons quarantined in the hospital by the Anambra State Government where the body from Liberia was deposited, tested negative.

But the result of the sample taken last Friday from the body is still being awaited.

Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Josephat Akabuike, said yesterday in Awka that the report would be made public.

Samples of two of the people said to be relations of the deceased from Liberia were taken at Umueri Hospital in Anambra East Local Government Area.

The other four persons were employees of the Apex Hospital where the body was deposited. They were transferred from the hospital to Umueri General Hospital as a result of the virus scare.

There was tension in Anambra State, following speculations that the body of an indigene of the state who died in Liberia was deposited at Apex Hospital in Nkwelle Ezunaka, Oyi Local Government Area.

It was also said that the body came into the state as a cargo. The state government ordered security to cordon off the hospital.

Members of the dead man’s family attempted to smuggle the body out, but were rebuffed by the security agencies.

 

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