Ebola: Lagos Insists On September 22 Resumption Date For Schools

Lagos Schools resumptionThe Lagos State government in Nigeria’s south-south has supported the September 22 resumption date for all public and private nursery, primary and secondary schools in the state as announced by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government had said that the date was agreed on after a national consultation on efforts to contain the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Nigeria.

A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Information and Strategy, Lateef Raji, said that although the resumption date was advisory, as education had remained a concurrent matter to be regulated by the respective Federal and States Authorities, Lagos State Government considered it eminently justifiable.

The State government said its decision was in view of the fact that there was currently no known carrier of EVD in the State at the moment.

“Furthermore, the last individual suspected to have been exposed to the virus will be discharged from observation on September 18, 2014, if he tests negative for the virus. All public and private educational institutions in the State are therefore directed to schedule their resumption accordingly.

“Considering the current situation report, it is clear that the risk of infection with EVD in Lagos State has been significantly reduced. Health professionals working on the outbreak are also in agreement that there is no reason why schools should remain closed beyond the 22nd of September, 2014.

“In spite of the foregoing, the State Government has now developed and will deploy all resources necessary to sustain the capacity to promptly take into custody any person suspected to be infected with EVD, as well as safely test, monitor and isolate such a person for treatment as may be found necessary without endangering other members of the public,” the statement read.

Remain Very Vigilant

The State government further acknowledged the need for all Nigerians to remain very vigilant, as the disease is still in other countries within West Africa.

Some steps that should be taken in some schools, whether public or private, before and after resumption, as stated by the State government include; training and sensitisation of students, vendors, teachers and non academic staff on EVD and how to avoid it; identification of EVD Focal Persons in schools who would be responsible for surveillance and health monitoring; provision of adequate environmental sanitation, including clean toilets and premises and provision of running water and soap and encouragement of frequent hand washing.

Other important steps listed were sensitisation of students on other personal hygiene habits, like the use of handkerchiefs when sneezing or coughing and arrangement for prompt referral of any sick person to the nearest health institution for treatment.

The State government further reiterated that the health of all residents was a matter of utmost importance, stressing that if any reasons emerge for a reconsideration of the school resumption date, a well-considered decision would be taken and the general public will be informed accordingly.

In the statement, health workers were commended for their efforts in ensuring the containment of EVD.

Health institutions, which might have suffered adverse economic consequences as a result of the epidemic that has claimed seven lives in Nigeria, were assured of the State government’s plan to assist them to mitigate their loses and safely reopen for business as soon as possible.

WFP Says It Needs $70m To Feed 1.3m People In Ebola Quarantine

EbolaThe World Food Programme says that it needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa.

WFP’s West Africa Director, Denise Brown, said that the organisation was currently providing food for around 150,000 people in Ebola-striken nations but needs to rapidly scale that up as the worst ever epidemic of the virus advanced.

Mrs Brown added that the WFP would look from donations from major donors like the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, as well as from non-traditional benefactors such as Arab states.

She, however, warned that the agency’s resources were already thinly stretched by major humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

Ebola Drug ZMapp Is 100% Effective

ZMappHopes of a breakthrough in the fight against Ebola have been raised by the 100% successful treatment of monkeys with the deadly disease.

The experimental drug, ZMapp, cured the animals even when administered five days after infection, while they were displaying severe symptoms.

All 18 rhesus macaques made a complete recovery, in contrast to three other untreated monkeys that quickly fell seriously ill and died.

Two U.S. doctors given the drug after they were infected with Ebola while working in Liberia subsequently recovered. It is not known, however, whether they were saved by the drug or just lucky.

About 45% of those infected in the current outbreak have survived without treatment.

At least two other patients treated with ZMapp have died, possibly because help got to them too late.

The new research, published in a special report on Nature Journal’s website, provides hard evidence that the drug works and can be highly effective.

ZMapp is a blend of three laboratory-made antibodies designed to neutralise the virus.

Nigeria Has Reduced Number Of Ebola Cases To One – Minister

Ebola_healthworkersNigeria has successfully reduced the number of Ebola cases to one, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, said on Tuesday.

At a press conference in Abuja, Professor Chukwu said that only one Ebola patient remained in isolation in Nigeria, down from the 13 cases confirmed since the outbreak of the virus in July.

The deadly virus was first brought to Nigeria by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer who died on July 25.

After Mr Sawyer’s death, health workers who treated him tested positive.

Professor Chukwu said: “So far Nigeria has had 13 cases including the index case”.

“Five of those infected, including Mr Sawyer died, while seven have successfully recovered and were discharged.

“Two of the nurses who managed Mr Sawyer were discharged on Monday at the isolation centre in Lagos,” Professor Chukwu said.

He said Nigeria had been able to contain the Ebola Virus Disease, with the reduced number of cases.

According to him, All the 129 people, who were under surveillance, have completed the 21-day observation incubation period and only one person was found to be symptomatic and is still being observed.

He said that the patient a female,  is a secondary contact of the index case.

Professor Chukwu, however, debunked reports that a sister of the late medical doctor, Ameyo Adadevoh was infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, out of the 257 under surveillance, 139 have completed their incubation period,without any trace of the disease in them.

Another 138 persons are still under surveillance.

The government has appealed to citizens not to be relaxed despite the successes recorded so far.


Ebola: Government Stops Côte d’Ivoire From Hosting Qualifier

Cote_DIvoireCôte d’Ivoire will not be allowed to host their African Nations Cup qualifier next week against Sierra Leone in Abidjan because of fears over the Ebola virus, the country’s football federation said on Tuesday.

The Côte d’Ivoire government has told the football federation it would not allow the match to take place because all travel between the two countries had been banned.

“The authorities are taking no chances against a possible Ebola outbreak,” media officer, Eric Kacou, told reporters.

The move followed Congo’s demand that their scheduled qualifier in Nigeria next weekend be moved to a neutral venue because they are reluctant to travel to a country where there have also been deaths from the deadly virus.

Nigeria and Sierra Leone are among the countries affected by the hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 1,427 people in the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date.

Sierra Leone and Guinea, another country where there have been over 300 fatalities, have been ordered by the Confederation of African Football to move their home qualifiers to neutral venues but the Côte d’Ivoire ban is the first time a government has told its own team it cannot play at home.

Côte d’Ivoire are scheduled to host Sierra Leone on September 6 in a Group D qualifier but must now scramble to find a new venue.

Sierra Leone have similar problems, as they battle to find a country willing to allow them to host their second game in the group, against the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 10.

Guinea have moved their Group E opener against Togo on September 6 to Casablanca in Morocco.

Nigeria, where there have been five reported deaths because of the Ebola virus, are still on course to host their opening Group A match against Congo on September 6 but the Congo Football Federation has written to CAF to ask for it to be moved to a neutral venue.

“We feel it is difficult to take our players to that region. Cameroon have closed their border with Nigeria because of the outbreak which goes to show the severity of the situation,” said Congo coach Claude Le Roy.

Nations Cup qualifiers start on September 5-6 with a second round of games on September 10 as the group phase of the preliminaries for the finals in Morocco next year gets underway.

Ebola: Japan Could Offer Unapproved Ebola Drug

EbolaJapan would like to offer a drug to help treat the deadly Ebola virus before the World Health Organization officially rules on its use, the country’s top government spokesman said on Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary ,Yoshihide Suga, told a news conference that Japan has received inquiries from some countries on the influenza drug, Favipiravir, or T-705, as it is known in the developmental code.

“I am informed that medical professionals could make a request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision (on approval) by the WHO. In that case, we would like to respond under certain criteria,” he said.

Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp and U.S. Partner, MediVector, are in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to submit an application to expand the use of Favipiravir as a treatment for Ebola.

Following Suga’s comments, Fujifilm shares rose 4.0 percent, edging near a four-year peak hit earlier in the month. They were the eighth most actively traded shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed more than 1,000 people and prompted the WHO to declare an international health emergency.

Ebola: U.S. Hospital Discharge Doctor Treated With Experimental Drug

Experimental DrugThe two US aid workers infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia have recovered and have been discharged from hospital.

Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, thanked supporters for their prayers at a news conference in Atlanta.

Nancy Writebol, 59, was discharged on Tuesday.

The two were taken to the US for treatment three weeks ago.

“Today is a miraculous day,” said Dr Brantly, who appeared healthy, although pallid, as he addressed reporters on Thursday at Emory University Hospital.

“I am thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family. As a medical missionary, I never imagined myself in this position.”

He said Ebola “was not on the radar” when he and his family moved to Liberia in October.

After his family returned to the US as the Ebola outbreak tore through West Africa, he continued to treat Ebola patients and woke up on July 23 feeling “under the weather”.

Dr. Brantly said that he was in bed for nine days, getting progressively sicker and weaker. On August 1, he was flown to Atlanta for treatment at Emory.

Emory Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr Bruce Ribner, said that after rigorous treatment and testing, officials were confident Dr. Brantly had recovered “and he can return to his family, his community and his life without public health concerns”.

The group for which he was working in Liberia, Samaritan’s Purse, said that they were celebrating his recovery.

“Today I join all of our Samaritan’s Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr Kent Brantly’s recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital,” Franklin Graham said in a statement.

Nancy Writebol’s husband, David, said in a statement that she was free of the virus but was significantly weakened.

The family decided to leave the hospital privately in order to allow her to rest and recuperate.

Meanwhile, South Africa, on Thursday, said that non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa – the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – would not be allowed into the country.

There is no cure for Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases known to humans, with a fatality rate of 50-60%.

Both Dr. Brantly and Mrs Writebol received an experimental drug known as ZMapp. The drug, which has only been made in extremely limited qualities, had never been tested on humans and it remained unclear if it was responsible for their recovery.

ZMapp was also given to a Spanish priest, who died, and three Liberian health workers, who are showing signs of improvement.

The outbreak has killed more than 1,300 people in West Africa, with many of the deaths occurring in Liberia.

Ebola: Senior Doctor, Ameyo Adadevoh Dies

Ameyo Adadevoh The most senior doctor, a female consultant physician, who participated in the management of the first Ebola patient in Nigeria, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, has died.

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced the death on Tuesday evening.

Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, 58, a Senior Consultant and Endocrinologist, had unknowingly contracted the disease in the process of treating the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who was the index patient of Ebola in Nigeria. Sawyer died in late July.

With the unfortunate development, the total number of Ebola Virus related deaths in Nigeria now stands at five.

A total of five infected persons have been discharged after they tested negative to the virus after treatment.

According to the Minister, the other two patients currently under treatment in the isolation wards are stable and are being taken care of.

Since the outbreak of the disease early this year, at least 1,000 deaths have been recorded, most of which occurred in West Africa.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave approval for the use of untested drugs in the treatment of Ebola patients, in an attempt to contain the disease it said was vastly underestimated. It said: “It is a public health emergency of international concern”.

WHO also stressed that extraordinary measures were needed to contain the disease.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, declared the outbreak of the disease a National Emergency and had approved an intervention fund of 1.9 billion Naira to contain the spread.

Ebola: West Africa Battling To Contain Virus

Ebola_protestWest Africa is in a delicate spot right now battling with the Ebola Virus Diseases which has infected hundreds and trying to get international help all to make sure that it does not spread any further is the focus right now.

Over the weekend, Nigeria recorded a breakthrough when the Minister of health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, told reporters that the first Nigerian Ebola patient has been asked to go home after all the necessary medical examination has been carried out to confirm he was virus free.

A vaccine is set to be developed by Nigerian scientists, but the minister said that it could not be used yet because it has not met the requirement of international health research ethic code.

The rest of Africa is in a frenzy on how to contain the virus, most public places has been shut down in Liberia.

Ghana’s tertiary institutions are yet to open but Guinea, where the virus first sprung up in West Africa, said it had brought the outbreak under control.

However, Guinea is  worried that a poor response to the epidemic by its neighbours could reverse the process.

The rest of the world is conscious of the deadly virus.

One common feature in the West African countries affected, is the establishment of isolation centres, where infected patients can get the help they need.

But now that health workers are just at risk as the patients themselves, extra care is required at the centres.

In Lagos the only state in Nigeria with reported cases of Ebola, which has the highest number of persons under surveillance, the government’s call for volunteers has received little response.

Lagos State may have had the quickest response to the presence of Ebola, but Nigeria’s West African neighbours, not so much.

Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said last week that the country’s resources were being geared towards combating its spread, however, it feels like a drop in the ocean. During an interview with CNN, she called on the international community to come to Liberia’s aid, as this is already a global problem.

Her words may have been echoed by Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma, who on Friday, called on the world health organisation, to do more to fight the disease.

More than 1,000 people have been killed by the virus, and over 300 of them have been from Sierra Leone.

“It is an extraordinary situation and we all agreed that we would require an extraordinary response,” Bai Koroma said.

The worst affected countries are recovering from a decade of civil wars and their health systems seem overwhelmed. Liberia is said to have one doctor, for every 70,000 people, Sierra Leone, one for every 45,000 compared to one for every 360 people in Britain, and one for every 410 in the United States.

Sadly, medical charity, doctors without borders, do not have good news on the containment of the virus.

International President of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Joanne Liu, said at a press briefing on Friday, that it will take about six months to bring the epidemic under control in west Africa.

But he stressed that the key was to stabilise Liberia, which would in turn stabilise the whole region. it however comes with great responsibility.

“We need as well, people, I would say with hands on operational mindset for disaster management,” Liu said.

For the rest of the world, prevention is key and that includes sounding an alert on travel to nationals planning trips to Ebola hit countries.

Ebola Drug, Zmapp Arrives In Liberia

zmappA consignment of experimental Ebola drug arrived by plane in Liberia to treat two doctors suffering from the virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people across four West African countries.

The drug, ZMapp, arrived on Wednesday, in two boxes on a commercial flight from the United States, carried by Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Ngafuan, and was unloaded at the VIP terminal, a correspondent had said.

It would be taken to a hospital in the capital and administered to Liberian doctors, Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor, who officials said contracted the disease while attending to patients, including a late colleague.

The world’s worst outbreak of Ebola has claimed the lives of 1,069 people and there are 1,975 probable and suspected cases, a vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to new figures from the World Health Organisation.

Three people have died in Nigeria.

The United Nations Health Agency said that only around 10 to 12 doses of the drug have been made and this raises difficult ethical questions about who should get priority access.

The doctors would be the first Africans to receive it, though it has been given to a Spanish priest who later died, and two U.S. aid workers who are reported to have shown signs of recovery.

Authorities are also concerned that ZMapp’s unproven status could leave them open to the charge that humans are being used as guinea pigs.

“This is not the panacea to the problem. It is at the risk of the patient,” Liberia’s Assistant Health Minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, told journalists at Monrovia’s main airport.

Information Minister, Lewis Brown, told Reuters that the drug merely offered a “glimmer of hope” and its use was little more than a gamble.

Even so, the clamor for it has been strong, given that the contagious hemorrhagic disease is killing more than half of its victims and there is no known cure or vaccine.

“I welcome it. It is very good. Our nurses are dying. If you bring them the medication it will make them stronger to fight Ebola,” said stationery seller, James Liburd, in Monrovia.

Nigeria Reports One More Ebola Case, 11 In Total

Ebola virus diseaseThe Federal Government has confirmed 11 cases of Ebola, after a doctor who treated the Liberian man who brought the disease to Lagos fell ill.

The Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, told a news conference in Abuja on Thursday that a medical doctor who had primary contact with the late Patrick Sawyer has been confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus disease.

A member of staff of West African regional economic body, ECOWAS, this week became the third person in Nigeria to die of the disease.

Eight (others) are still alive, more than half of them are doing very well and actually showing signs of recovery … under treatment,” Prof Chukwu said.

The Health Minister added that 15 out of the 21 persons under surveillance for Ebola virus in Enugu State, after a nurse who ignored surveillance restrictions fled Lagos to Enugu State, have been cleared and freed by the Ministry of Health.

According to Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, only six out of the 21 earlier placed on surveillance actually had contact with the nurse.

The six, who had contact with the nurse, are now under surveillance with restrictions to movements for 21 days, to see if any would develop the symptoms for the virus.

In all, Nigeria now has 169 persons who had secondary contacts with those being quarantined for developing symptoms of the Ebola virus.

The World Health Organization has called this Ebola outbreak, whose worst affected countries include Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, an international emergency. It has killed around 55 to 60 percent of those who have contracted the disease.

Meanwhile, the Straits Times , a Singapore based newspaper, said on Thursday that a Nigerian woman sent to a Singapore hospital isolation unit does not have Ebola as initially suspected.

The Chief Executive of the government hospital where the woman was sent, Philip Choo, said that it was a false alarm and the woman had been discharged.

The woman, in her 50s, was believed to have flown into Singapore recently and arrived at a hospital emergency department with a fever.

According to the World Health Organisation, the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola has claimed the lives of 1,069 people and there are 1,975 probable and suspected cases, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

There have been no confirmed cases in Asia.


FG Says 21 Suspected Cases Of Ebola Reported In Enugu

Ebola DoctorsTwenty-one persons are suspected to have contracted the Ebola Virus Disease and are under surveillance  in Enugu State,  South east  Nigeria.

After a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, told reporters that one of the nurses, who had contact with the index patient, late Patrick Sawyer, had traveled to Enugu State contrary to instructions and had had contact with the 21 persons.

According to Mr Maku, 198 Nigerians have been traced to have contacted the virus. While 177 are in Lagos, 21 persons in Enugu are being watched.

The FEC devoted this week’s meeting to the efforts being made to combat the Ebola Virus which entered Nigeria some 23 days ago and had been declared a National Emergency.

At the meeting, the Minister of Health, Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu, told the council that Nigerians had been on the alert even before late Sawyer entered Lagos with the virus.

He told reporters that he was in touch with all the Commissioners for Health and that the Governors of the 36 states and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory had been called for a meeting with the President, an indication that the government was taking the case serious.

He said a committee had been set up to handle the claims by many Nigerians that they have a cure for the ailment and called on Nigerians not to panic, as the government was in touch with the rest of the world on the possible cure for the disease.

The Nigerian government had requested for an untested drug, Zmapp, believed to be efficient in the treatment of Ebola virus from the United States but had not gotten any concrete response.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization supported the use of untested drugs for the treatment of the disease, which the Nigerian government said its outbreak was a National Emergency.

As part of efforts to contain the disease, which had claimed three lives in Lagos State, President Goodluck Jonathan had set up an intervention plan with 1.9 billion Naira approved for the control of the disease.

The Federal Government had urged those who had primary contact with the index patient to report themselves so that they could be quarantined.