Thursday, July 24, 2014 6:36 pm
Kazeem Ugbodaga/Special Correspondent
The deadly Ebola Virus Disease which has killed over over 500 people in West Africa has hit Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, the Lagos State Government says.
Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, presently, has no cure and is ravaging neighbouring West African countries with many people killed and nations still at risk of the deadly disease. The WHO has recorded more than 900 cases of Ebola in the epidemic that has raged across West Africa in recent months, but this is the first suspected case to emerge in Nigeria since the outbreak began.
At a news conference in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Thursday, Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos, Dr. Yewande Adeshina told newsmen that a 40-year old Liberian, working for a West African Organisation in Moronvia, Liberia, who arrived Lagos last Sunday is suspected to have the disease. Liberia has recorded 172 cases of the disease, including 105 deaths.
She said details of the suspected case were obtained from a private health facility in the state, which she refused to mention, saying that history taken revealed that the 40-year old man had no contact with EVD, did not visit any person with EVD in the hospital and neither did he partake in the burial of any person who died of the disease.
“However, on account of working and living in an endemic region for EVD, and the presentation of non-specific constitutional symptoms and signs (fever, malaise, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea etc) associated with EVD, a high index of suspension was raised.
“Based on this, blood samples were taken to Virology Reference Laboratory, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, on Tuesday. Preliminary results necessitated the confirmation of EVD at a World Health Organisation, WHO Reference Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal which is actively in process,” she said.
According to her, the patient’s condition is considered stale while the health facility had since initiated Universal Safety Precautionary measures to prevent spread of the disease and guaranteed safety of other patients.
“Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death,” —Adeshina
Adeshina said the Federal Ministry of Health, including Port Health Services were partners with the state government in areas of contact tracing and other specialised care, urging Lagosians to remain calm and take appropriate measures for the prevention of the disease.
The Special Adviser explained that Ebola virus disease is caused by a virus which natural reservoir of virus is not completely known, stressing that fruit bats have been considered to be the natural host of the virus.
“The virus can be spread through, close contact with the blood, body fluids, organ and tissues of infected animals; direct contact with blood, organ or body secretions of an infected person. The transmission of the virus by other animals like monkey and chimpanzee cannot be ruled out,” she said.
Adeshina noted that those at the highest risk of the disease include health-workers; and families or friends of an infected person who could be infected in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them.
She stressed that Ebola virus disease should be suspected in persons who develop bleeding from the body openings like the mouth, nose, rectum and ear; a close contact of person who is infected; or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed infected person.
“Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death,” Adeshina explained.
Adeshina noted that presently, there is no specific treatment for Ebola virus disease stressing that infected persons will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialized care and treated in isolation in line with international standards.
She urged residents of the State to reduce risk of infection by observing high standard of personal and environmental hygiene by washing their hands often with soap and water; avoiding close contact with people who are sick and ensuring that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed.
While noting that all fluids from an infected person are extremely dangerous, Adeshina advised health workers to be at alert, wear personal protective equipment; observe universal basic precautions when attending to suspected or confirmed cases; and report same to their local government areas or the Ministry of Health immediately or call the following numbers: 08023169485; 08033086660; 08033065303; 08055281442; 08055329229.
Liberia has recorded 172 cases of the disease, including 105 deaths.
The epidemic is the worst-ever since the virus first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Lagos government has begun rolling out an emergency response in a bid to contain any potential spread of the virus across the congested city of more than 20 million people, with poor sanitation and health infrastructure.