Ebola: Infected Nigerian nurse travelled to Enugu despite medical advice – Maku

Patrick Sawyer Liberian who died of the Ebola virus in Lagos

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.


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  • Charley

    How did this lady get to Enegu? Did she fly or travel on a bus? If she has been in contact with a person who has been in contact with an Ebola victim then the people associated with her on the travels between Lagos and Enegu and every rest stop in between are part of the quarantine. Serious business please. Nigeria can deal with this but there needs to be strict discipline … and it may take more time than people will appreciate. People who have been in contact need to stay in quarantine. No reason to be scared. Running only would potentially spread the disease. So let’s all wash our hands! God love Nigeria.

    • Melladu Michael

      There is one thing I am yet to understand here. One version of the story says she left the place against medical advice the other has it that she escaped. Well, in whichever way I am so ashamed of how situations are handled in this country. Mr Honourable Minister, I hope you are expecting Nigerians to applaud you for giving them this information? Ya Iam sure some have done that already. One thing I am so sure of is that our politicians must know that they will not feast on our people’s ignorance forever. From the reactions of Nigerians on this issue so far, it is a pointer to the fact that one day even our dead leaders will be exhume from their graves and made to face judgement for the injustice melted on the citizens of this country. You have done well clap for yourself.

      • Ogb

        Maybe she is going for prayer at Adoration ground. Father Mbaka should be advised to to tell all Ebola patients to obey the govt and remain in quarantine in the location where they were infected. He should publicly announce that they are not welcome to the Adoration ministry.

        • Melladu Michael

          An Ebola infected person on motion is more dangerous than a suicide bomber and any pastor/minister admitting such a person in the congregation is putting God to the test and acting unbiblical because even God himself instructed the Israelite to separate from the people anyone suspected to Hv been infected with leprosy. This is why I keep insisting that some level of philosophy is important for every pastor of the WORD so that they will be balanced personalities. Are we wicked to the infected persons? Certainly no! We are only concerned for the good of humanity; after all it’s no fault of theirs as they were only carrying out their legitimate function for the good of all. May God have mercy on them

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    • Melladu Michael

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  • True Nigerian

    And this is supposed to be a nurse. It’s a shame! Apparently, she doesn’t even value the lives of her own family members, friends and relations. Of course, someone who doesn’t care enough about her own family getting the disease certainly can’t be bothered about infecting every other Nigerian that is a stranger to her. Terrible judgement, and offensively selfish! Next time, the health ministry should use force/compusion on such cases. This is a national emergency. So they shouldn’t just advise people and then let them do whatever they wish t do even if it means spreading the deadly disease. Had the health officials forced this woman to stay one place immediately after her diagnosis, the number of Nigerians at risk would have been 21 persons less than it is and the risk would also not spread to a second Nigerian state outside of Lagos which is currently managing it very well.

  • brain

    I think the authorities still underestimate the graveness of allowing an infected person to leave quarantine (If the story turns out to be true). First of all, quarantine for exposed persons is COMPULSORY and there should be no option here!

    The issue of whether the patients are receiving adequate care or not is that of another discuss.
    Protection of the larger unexposed population is the one and primary target now. This is the more reason why in developed countries, situations like this is handled by the military.

    As cruel as it may sound, patients escaping quarantine whether confirmed infected or not are grave risks to the general population and should be treated as such. If the military were involved in the security, they will surely know what to do! An infected person fleeing quarantine is worse than a suicide bomber!!!
    They should be shot if they try to flee….

    • Me

      You have said it all, God bless you for speaking my mind.

  • atedo

    Poor journalism. The minister did not say “the dead nurse”. He said the nurse and 20 others are under surveillance. Please check your facts and edit before publication.

    • Wise Head

      And the news today (14th August) is that the nurse has been brought back to Lagos and she has not manifested any symptoms of Ebola

  • Lambert

    Why did they allow her to travel? Every victim of ebola is supposed to be confined in a place. If it spreads, it becomes more difficult to eradicate.