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Breaking: Ebola Hits Port Harcourt, Kills Doctor, 70 Under Surveillance


By Ayo Balogun

The deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, has hit Port Harcourt and claims the life of a medical doctor, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu disclosed on Thursday.

At a news conference on Thursday, Onyebuchi said the total number of EVD cases so far reported in Nigeria stood at 15, while the total number of those treated at the Isolation Centre in Lagos stood at 13, with seven survivor and five dead, including the index case, late Patrick Sawyer and one Ebola cases currently at the Isolation Centre in Lagos and improving.

“You will notice that the number of cases has increased from 13 to 15.You will also notice that this additional two were not treated in the isolation ward in Lagos. One of them is a primary contact of the index case (Mr. Patrick Sawyer). Even though presently he does not have EVD but further laboratory tests indicate that he had suffered EVD.

“This primary contact of Mr. Sawyer 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.

“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,” he explained.

Chukwu said as a result, several contacts had now been traced, registered and placed under surveillance, saying however that because the widow is now symptomatic, she had been quarantined pending the outcome of laboratory tests on her.

He added that the Incident Management Committee had already deployed a very strong team to Port Harcourt to work with the health authorities of Rivers State, saying that just like the situation had effectively been managed in Lagos and Enugu, the situation in Port Harcourt would also similarly be effectively managed and that government had begun to do so.

“The total number of deaths from Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, therefore, is now six, the index case (Mr. Sawyer), the four (4) primary contacts that died in the isolation ward in Lagos, and a doctor that died in Port Harcourt whose blood sample tested positive after death. Also, 70 persons have been placed under surveillance in Port Harcourt.

“I want to charge the residents of Port Harcourt not to panic over this situation 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.

“Once again we appeal to all contacts under surveillance to abide by the advice given to them by the Incident Management Committee. With regard to Enugu, all secondary contacts will be followed up till tomorrow when they are all expected to be discharged from our surveillance,” he said.




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