Rivers government still searching for 50 ‘high risk’ Ebola suspects – Commissioner

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.

The Rivers State government has said that 60 persons out of the 200 primary and secondary contacts of the Ebola Virus Disease in Port Harcourt are yet to be located.

The government said three persons, comprising of a pharmacist, doctor, and a female patient, have been quarantined after they came in contact with Ikechukwu Enemuo, a physician who died of Ebola Virus Disease in the state.

“I have been telling you before now that almost 200 persons have been line-traced. Out of this number, we are still to be in touch with about 60 of them,” said Sampson Parker, the Commissioner for Health.

“But 50 high risk contacts have been identified. Because of stigma and the rest of them, these persons are not coming up but we are still on them,” he added.

Rivers State has recorded one death since the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, last month. Dr. Enemuo, who secretly treated Koye Olu-Ibukun, an ECOWAS official in Port Harcourt, died of the virus on August 22.

Mr. Parker said two of the three people presently in quarantine in Port Harcourt – the doctor and the pharmacist – are staff of Sam Steel Hospital, a clinic founded by the late Dr. Enemuo.

“We must let the people know that anyone that came into contact with primary and secondary contacts to Dr. Enemuo or the clinics and the hotel should voluntarily contact us,” Mr. Parker continued.

“It does not mean they are infected. All we need is just to observe them. Chances of survival are very high. It is very important the members of the public know this so that we do not waste time looking for people who are hiding. We know some persons are hiding but we are advising them to come out,” he added.

The commissioner further urged officers of the Nigeria Police to demand for the Ministry of Health or mortuary clearance documents from people moving corpses from one point to another.

“Some of them are running into churches and most of them are laying hands on them without knowing. People should check their level of anointing before they do that. This is a strong advice for pastors,” Mr. Parker added.


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