Two Ebola patients’ spouses contract virus
Spouses of two Ebola victims who had primary contacts with the late Patrick Sawyer, the index case of Ebola in Nigeria, are the latest victims of the deadly virus in the country, the Federal Government announced yesterday.
Sawyer, a Liberian-American, flew into Nigeria with the virus last month and infected 11 others before he died, including the male and female caregivers who subsequently died of Ebola.
The federal authorities had initially denied fresh cases of infection when the Lagos State Government raised the alarm earlier in the week.
But in a u-turn yesterday, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the fresh cases brought the number in the country to 14.
Five deaths have been recorded while five other patients were discharged after recovering from the disease.
Four are currently receiving treatment.
Among the dead is Dr.Stella Adadevoh, senior consultant at the Lagos private hospital where Sawyer was rushed to on arrival in Lagos.
The minister said yesterday that the federal government would honour Dr. Adadevoh for the sacrifice she made in ensuring that Ebola did not spread beyond Lagos.
He also promised that the Federal Government would continue to work with the Lagos State Government and other partners with a view to maintaining vigilance and strengthening “our containment activities.”
At a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr.Jide Idris, said that five new suspected Ebola virus cases were brought to the isolation ward of the Yaba Mainland Hospital in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said that two of those five cases were from secondary contacts linked to Sawyer.
”Till date, we have recorded eight suspected cases, five of which came in yesterday (Tuesday), 12 confirmed,” said Idris.
“On the whole, five have died (including the index case). We are currently following up 213 contacts, and 62 have completed the two-day follow-up.”
But barely two hours after the press conference ended, Health Minister, Chukwu, issued a terse statement telling the public to “disregard” Idris’ figures.
Receiving a delegation of the Association of Private Medical Practitioners in Abuja yesterday, Chukwu said of the planned honour for Adadevoh: “Very soon, you will hear about her honour. Very soon, the number one citizen will say something about it.”
Chukwu noted that the role of First Consultant Hospital and the late Dr Adadevoh was very crucial in ensuring that the virus did not spread like in other countries.
He said that the role of private medical practitioners has become sacrosanct, ”particularly now when doctors are on strike.”
“You have lost one of your colleagues, Dr. Adadevoh. We mourn her and all Nigerians who lost their lives to Ebola. We will ensure that her bravery, courage and patriotism will not go unnoticed,” he added.
Also yesterday, the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) hailed government’s response to the outbreak of Ebola disease.
President of the association, Dr Steven Oluwole however called for better protection for the health personnel in the forefront of the fight against the disease.
“That the control of Ebola virus disease is receiving appropriate attention by the government; closure of Nigerian boarders and grounding of flights are not justified at the moment given the level of threat and that greater priority should be given to protection of hospital staff that are caring for Ebola Disease patients,” he said.
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