Lagos State Government on Tuesday affirmed that the female medical doctor who tested positive to the Ebola Virus after treating a Liberian diplomat that died of the disease after arriving in Nigeria is still alive.
Addressing newsmen at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, noted that the female medical doctor who attended to the case of Ebola Virus Disease at a private hospital in Lagos is the only confirmed case to date out of the eight primary contact under clinical surveillance and care.
“Her being infected is largely due to the fact that she was a primary contact when the index case presented. At that point in time, the disease was not known to have been imported into the country”, Idris explained.
He stressed that the essence of the briefing is to highlight the mode of transmission of Ebola Virus Disease stressing that the disease is transmissible through direct contact with broken skin, mucous membranes and secretions of an infected person or through direct contact with materials and surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person.
“This is a call for vigilance as human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from Ebola virus through body fluids such as blood, urine, stool, saliva, breast milk and semen. Burial ceremonies where mourners including family members have direct contact with patients who died of Ebola have also played a role in the spread of the disease”, Idris said.
The Commissioner noted that in Africa, infection has also occurred through the handling of infected chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, fruit bats, antelopes and porcupines adding that there has been no case of transmission by domestic animals like pigs.
He urged everyone to be vigilant especially with regard to relating with people who are ill, stressing that there is no cause to panic as long as basic precautionary measures such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal and environmental hygiene are adhered to.
Idris opined that precautionary measures such as hand washing, adoption of appropriate waste management and enhanced personal and environmental hygiene is relevant especially when large congregations are expected with a mix of people from other part of the world and commended the responsiveness and cooperation received from the Redeemed Christian Church of God in this regard during the church’s on-going Convention.
While appreciating various health workers who have selflessly committed to this cause of preventing the spread of the virus in the areas of contact tracing, case management and decontamination, the Commissioner appealed to other health workers like doctors, nurses, environmental health workers and phlebotomists to come on board and complement the state health workforce.
He also appealed to striking doctors to return to work and urged other health workers to sheath their swords and embrace team work in the drive to stem the spread of the disease in the state.
“We also count on the cooperation of the good people of Lagos State as your government, in partnership with the Federal government may need in the course of taking decisions in the overriding interest of the public, institute measures that may be considered inconvenient to some people”, Idris said.
He explained that relevant digital platforms have been set up for ease of reference, information and communication flow and that the platforms include Help line: 0800 EBOLA HELP (0800326524357); Website: www.ebolaalert.org; Facebook: fb.com/ebolaalert; and Twitter: @ebolaalert.
Also present at the briefing were the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr Lateef Ibirogba.