Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:52 pm
The euphoria over the success of the Lagos State Government and Nigeria’s Federal Government in limiting the spread of #Ebolavirus has been cut short by the arrival of the dreaded virus in Rivers State, in South east Nigeria.
It has now been confirmed by both the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker and Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu that a medical doctor, Ike Inamua died of the virus last Friday. His wife has also tested positive, according to separate press statements by the two officials today.
However, the source is still Patrick Sawyer, who brought the disease to Nigeria, when he arrived from Liberian on 20 July.
According to the minister, a staff of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS who had contact with the late Sawyer in Lagos had evaded surveillance team and travelled to Port Harcourt. In that city, the ECOWAS staff fell ill and consulted Inamua, in his private clinic.
The ECOWAS man later returned to Lagos and recovered from the disease. Unfortunately, the doctor who treated him in Port Harcourt contracted Ebola and died last Friday from the disease. The doctor’s wife, according to Onyebuchi, now bears the symptoms and has been quarantined.
“This primary contact of Mr. Sawyer’s evaded our surveillance team in the last week of July 2014 and travelled out of Lagos to Port Harcourt where, as we now understand, he consulted with a doctor and was apparently treated for some symptoms. After four days, following a manhunt for him, he returned to Lagos by which time he was found to be without symptoms. Even though presently he does not have EVD but further laboratory tests indicate that he had suffered EVD.
“This case would have been of no further interest since he had completed the 21 days of surveillance without any other issue, but for the fact that the doctor who treated him died last Friday, 22nd August, 2014. Following the report of this death by the doctor’s widow the next day, the case had been thoroughly investigated and laboratory analysis showed that this doctor died from EVD. As a result, several contacts have now been traced, registered and placed under surveillance. However, because the widow is now symptomatic, she has been quarantined pending the outcome of laboratory tests on her. The Incident Management Committee has already deployed a very strong team to Port Harcourt to work with the health authorities of Rivers State. Just like the situation has effectively been managed in Lagos and Enugu, the situation in Port Harcourt will also similarly be effectively managed and we have begun to do so,” he said.
The minister asked residents of Port Harcourt not to panic over this situation.
He added: “As the experience we have gathered from Lagos and Enugu respectively indicate that there is no cause for alarm when you have the government fully in control of the situation.”
The minister thus announced that Nigeria only has only one confirmed case of EVD, a secondary contact of Mr. Patrick Sawyer’s and spouse of one of the physicians who participated in the management of the index case left under treatment. He said the patient is an a stable condition, but still on treatment at the Isolation ward in Lagos.
Also, the emergence of the two new victims in Port Harcourt has increased the number of EVD in Nigeria from 13 to 15 including the index case since the disease was imported into the country.
With the death of the Port Harcourt doctor, Nigeria has now recorded six EVD deaths, while seven of the infected persons were successfully managed at the Isolation ward in Lagos and have been discharged. The 70 persons put under surveillance in Lagos now join the 128 secondary contacts who have been under surveillance in Lagos.
The minister had on Wednesday warned Nigerians not to roll out the drums over his announcement the previous that the country now has only one confirmed case of the EVD.
Dr Sampson Parker, also revealed that 100 persons who are suspected to have had contact with the doctor have been quarantined in a facility in Oduoha in Emohua Local Government area of the state. With regard to the Oduoha community people who protested against the location of the quarantine facility in their area, he said:”As I speak with you,the initial emotion expressed has been handled as the Government engaged the Community and enlightenment on the disease carried out.” He assured Rivers People that the state government has Medical personnel who were trained at Emory University Hospital in USA reputed to be the best specialist hospital on Ebola treatment in the world. He also said there is a Rapid Response Team for Ebola out already on standby in the state and no private hospital should admit any Ebola patient as they may not be equipped to handled such specialised treatment.