Sixty-one people placed under observation by the Nigerian authorities for possible Ebola infection have been cleared and are not at risk of contracting the disease.
The 61 persons were cleared after 21 days since they had primary or secondary contact with the index case, the Liberian Patrick Sawyer who died of Ebola in Lagos.
Lagos State Governor, Babtunde Fashola, disclosed this during a broadcast to the people of the state on the level of preparedness and efforts taken by the government to curtail the spread of the virus in the state.
“Last week we cleared a total of 61 contacts after the 21 days surveillance which is the known lifespan of the virus. These people were not sick. They were persons who needed to be monitored because of real or suspected contacts to be certain that they did not eventually fall sick. We cautiously wait to see how many more people will be cleared and hope that there will be no new cases,” he said.
The state government in conjunction with the Federal government has been working to curtail the spread of the disease after a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, brought the disease into the country.
So far, 11 people have tested positive for the virus and four including Mr. Sawyer have died.
On Saturday, one of the doctors who was infected while treating Mr. Sawyer, made full recovery after receiving treatment at the Isolation centre in Mainland Hospital, Yaba, and was discharged.
Mr. Fashola said it is not true that those being treated at the isolation centre lack proper care and basic essential as was reported. He said the state is doing everything to provide for patients and the level of care they get is increasing daily as health officials understand the virus better.
“I assure you that they are receiving the best care that the experts have recommended to us, given the circumstances; because they say that this is the best way to proceed especially because experienced personnel in Ebola containment and management have always been a challenge.”
He said the state, with the help of experts from the World Health Organisation, WHO, the Centre for Disease Control and the Medecins Sans Frontiers, is doing everything it can to track contacts and contain the spread of the deadly virus.
“What is true is that we have followed all the contacts that we know who have had primary and secondary contacts with the patient who imported the virus into our state, or with people who had contact with him,” Mr. Fashola said.
“Because we had to react to an unexpected situation, we had to react in a proper and methodical way, according to acceptable global health standards.
“Although we have suffered very painful loss of lives, I think it is fair to say that we are not yet at an epidemic stage and we are determined to do everything not to get to that stage; because of the grave consequences to the safety of human lives,” the governor added.
He said evidence that the government containment strategy is working is that all confirmed cases of the disease in the state are traced to contact with the index case.
Mr. Fashola said he has personally taken the lead in sensitising the public on preventive measures and the observance of proper personal hygiene.
“We have provided information to the public on all state-owned media, while the private media have commendably joined in this effort. There is also information available on the social media platform.
“Since Monday last week, precisely on the 11th of August, I commenced meetings on an almost daily basis with stakeholders in our society, religious leaders, traditional rulers, market men and women, community development associations, to brief them of the risk, to re-assure them that we are daily gaining control, to advise them and all of you to be cautious but not to panic,” he said.
While thanking first responders who risked their health to volunteer in treating the confirmed cases, he appealed for more medical and health volunteers to help increase the level of care patients are getting.
He said volunteers would be adequately trained before being deployed.
While thanking fundraisers, the governor said the state does not need their help at the moment as it has the financial resources to cater for the patients’ needs and treatment.