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Panic As Deadly Ebola Virus Claims First Victim In Lagos

There is panic in Lagos, Nigeria as the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, has claimed its first life in Lagos.

The 40-year old man from Liberia, Mr. Patrick Sawyer who was suspected with the virus died on Thursday night at a private hospital, First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende area of Lagos

 Mr. Patrick Sawyer

Late Patrick Sawyer

Sawyer is said to be a WASH consultant at the Ministry of Finance, in Liberia.

A top official of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, who craved anonymity confirmed it to African Examiner this afternoon, saying that the man has been killed by EVD.

Special Adviser the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina was evasive when asked whether the Ebola victim had died, saying that she could not confirmed it as she rushed into an emergency meeting to deliberate on the outbreak of EVD in Lagos.

Officials of the state government, including the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and top health officials in the state were at a crucial meeting to find how to curtail the EVD from spreading as at the time of filing this report.

With the death of the man, there is panic in Lagos on the possibility that the disease might have spread from the dead man to others, as people are praying that the disease should not spread in Lagos due to its large population.

On Thursday, the Lagos State Government had raised the alarm that a 40-year old Liberian had been discovered to have the EVD strain.

In view of the reported suspected case of EVD in Lagos, Adeshina called on residents of the State to remain calm and take appropriate measures to prevent and control an outbreak of the disease in the State.

Adeshina explained that an outbreak of the disease which is caused by the Ebola virus have been recorded in some neighbouring West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“You will recall that three months ago, your attention was drawn to the outbreak of a deadly disease known as Ebola Virus Disease in some of the neighbouring West African countries. Current update from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone shows alarming increase in the number of cases and deaths due to this disease,” she said.

According to her, details of the suspected case were obtained from the health facility and that the suspect, a 40 years old Liberian working for a West African organization in Monrovia who arrived Lagos on a flight from Monrovia via Lome on Sunday July 20, 2014 at 4pm had no contact with any case of EVD

“History taken revealed that he had no contact with any case of 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 EVD. However, on account of his working and living in an endemic region for EVD like Liberia; and the presentation of non-specific constitutional symptoms and signs of fever, malaise, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, etc associated with EVD, a high index of suspicion was raised”, Adeshina explained.

The Special Adviser explained further that based on the high index of suspicion raised, the patient was admitted and detained on suspicion for possible Ebola virus disease infection stressing that blood sample collection and testing was initiated which includes samples to the Virology Reference Laboratory, LUTH, Idi-Araba and WHO Reference Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal which she stressed is actively in process.

She stressed the need for residents of the State to remain calm and take appropriate measures for the prevention and control of the disease noting that Ebola Virus Disease is caused by the Ebola virus which outbreaks occur primarily in villages of the Central and West Africa.

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.

Said She, “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”.

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 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.

The Special Adviser on Public Health 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.



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