The nurse who died after contracting Ebola Virus Disease from index case – Liberian Patrick Sawyer – refused to heed to warning against travel and has caused the quarantine of 21 persons in Enugu.
This was made known by Labaran Maku, Nigeria’s Information Minister, who addressed journalists on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting, FEC.
Mr. Maku said despite the death of three persons including the nurse and Mr. Sawyer, the Ebola Virus Disease is not a threat to the country.
He stated that 10 out of the198 persons identified as primary and secondary contacts with the late Liberian carrier, Patrick Sawyer, have tested positive to the virus.
Of the 198 persons under surveillance, 177 of them are in Lagos while 21 are in Enugu as a result of the nurse’s journey.
The minister told journalists that the family of the late nurse and others who had direct contact with her are being quarantined in other stations across the state.
“All those who had primary contact have been quarantined. Secondary contacts have also been traced.
“So far the number of people that have been traced is 198. Out of this number, 177 are in Lagos. . Some are in quarantine, some are being monitored by health specialists.
“Twenty-one persons in Enugu are also being watched. This is because one of the nurses that was involved with the treatment of the index case, unfortunately, disobeyed medical instructions and somehow travelled to Enugu.
“All those who she was in contact with including her husband are under quarantine. The medical team have been able to trace all those who made contact with her,” Mr. Maku said.
The Minister also asked members of the public to disregard rumours and unverified reports on the Ebola epidemic as the government is operating on top gear towards ensuring the scourge does not blow out
of its incubation period that ends today (Wednesday).
“Health workers are now in all our border units. All the entry points into this country and exit points have port health workers that are working in our airports and seaports.
“We are calling on citizens specifically to cooperate. If health workers say you have had contact with A,B,C, don’t move to anywhere, respect that judgement. It is very important. In one or two cases where we have had disobedience, we lost one of them and this one now moved with it to another place (Enugu). So we are urging Nigerians, please to help us in making sure that all these messages and appeals we are making on you, we implement them,” he said.
He said though the measures have been communicated to state governors, they have been re-invited to be briefed by the federal government on further collaboration to stamp out the disease from Nigeria.
Cure and possible cures
Mr. Maku said though the disease has no recorded cure, the government is ensuring that it does not breakout in Nigeria as did in Congo in1976 when the first outbreak was reported.
In terms of possible treatment Mr. Maku said “the ministry of health set up a special committee specifically to take claims from Nigerians who believe they could help.
“So far we have had a lot of reports from Nigerians at home and abroad who come forward to say look they have possibility of developing therapies that could help in fighting the virus. There is no cure so far, anywhere in the world. Even the trial drug in the US is still a trial drug, it has not been established,” Mr. Maku said.
He said a certain Simon Agwale, who has been one of the frontline of global researchers developing vaccines for HIV and other viral diseases, came forward to offer help. Dr. Agwale, Mr. Maku said, has been directed to the committee on Ebola.
“One of the doctors and research experts that came forward was Dr Simon Agwale who has been one of the frontline global researchers on developing vaccines for HIV and other viral diseases. He also came forward and said he could help, both in terms developing a vaccine, which he said he has started work on between himself and his fellow experts in the U.S. He said this is ongoing. The Minister of Health has given support and directed him to the committee. He also discussed the possibility of certain therapy which could be applied. And again that is being discussed. Once it is approved, it could be used”.
Meanwhile, the President has launched automatic hand sanitizers to be stationed in strategic places for private and public use.
Mr. Jonathan launched the sanitisers with the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who was co-launcher, being the governor of the state most affected by the Ebola virus.