Ebola: Port Harcourt Doctor’s Sister Discharged From Isolation

EbolaThe sister of the first victim of Ebola virus disease in Port Harcourt, Dr. Iyke Samuel Enemuo, Chinyere, who also tested positive to the virus, has been discharged from the isolation centre, Oduoha – Emohua.

Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, disclosed this to journalists in Port Harcourt on Monday morning.

He said that Chinyere has been successfully managed and is now negative and immune to the Ebola virus.

A primary contact of index case, Mr. Patrick Sawyer and also an ECOWAS official, had evaded surveillance in the last week of July 2014 and travelled out of Lagos to Port Harcourt where he consulted with the late Dr. Enemuo and was allegedly secretly treated for some symptoms.

After four days, following a manhunt for him, the ECOWAS official returned to Lagos by which time he was found to be without symptoms.

However, Dr Enemuo died after some days, with investigation and laboratory analysis showing that he died from EVD which he must have contracted during the secluded treatment.

As a result, several contacts have been traced, registered and placed under surveillance, including his sister, Chinyere, who has now been successfully managed and discharged.


Ebola: Educationist Advocates Online Lectures For School Children

 Abiola Awosika-FapetuAn educationist, Professor Abiola Awosika-Fapetu, has advised schools across Nigeria to explore the use of internet in teaching students while they wait for the  Ebola Virus Disease to be adequately contained by the government.

Professor Awosika-Fapetu, on Wednesday said that the use of the internet would ensure that the pupils do not lose four weeks of study time while waiting for the Ebola outbreak to come to an end.

After some deaths were recorded in Lagos State in south-west Nigeria due to the Ebola outbreak, the government postponed schools’ resumption date by four weeks in order to ensure that the epidemic was contained before the pupils return to school.

However, some school children have expressed fears that it would make them lose a reasonable amount of time and that they would be made to face the challenge of having to learn so many things withing a short period of time.

However, Professor Awosika-Fapetu said that the four weeks could be handled well, if school teaches would consider creating groups on social networks and providing online teaching sessions to the children.

“The school should work double time for the children to make the deadlines because the time has been lost. The cost on the teachers and the children is something that the school has to bear.

“Children have the capacity to get anything that we throw at them. We have to make sure that we plan it well.

“Schools can get in touch with students while they are at home, via facebook and other social media.

“We need to take a stand on the use of technology in our schools,” the Rector of Olawoyin School of Innovative Studies said.

She further urged the government to ensure that the cost that the Ebola outbreak could place on the institutions was accommodated in its budget.

She pointed out that if the spread of the disease was not checked, it would have a multiplier effect on the economy.

“The government needs to be prepared to deal with the cost of the aftermath of this. It is good for some and bad for some.

“We need to be cautious not to take undue advantage of what this is doing. Prices of sanitisers have gone up. People are getting exploited and the government should check these excesses,” she said.

She further emphasised the need for parents to inculcate in their children the culture of hand washing and other hygiene practices that would make them stay safe.

“The children are very absorbent. If you tell them exactly what it means and what will happen if they do not wash their hands every time they will abide by it.

She advised schools to make use of diagrams and their notice boards in sensitising the students when they return to school.

Ebola: Rivers Government Was Prepared For Eventuality – Amaechi

Amaechi 2Following the confirmation that Ebola Virus had gained entrance into Rivers State and the placement of over 200 person under medical surveillance, the Governor Chibuike Ameachi, on Tuesday assured the citizens and the country that the government had the situation under control.

Appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Governor Amaechi noted that his administration had started preparations, since Ebola was confirmed in Lagos, by disbursing about 300 million Naira for the purchase of materials and setting up a training programme for doctors.

He explained that the state did not act in time, compared to the situation in Lagos State, because the individual who introduced Ebola Virus to the State, Olu Ibukun Koye, had been unreachable for two days after arrival in Port Harcourt and he later travelled back to Lagos. Upon interrogation, he denied he had been in contact with other people.

“If he had said – yes, I was in Port Harcourt, yes – I saw the doctor”, the doctor and his family would have been placed under surveillance and the need to place over 200 under watch would have been non-existent, the governor explained.

The doctor who treated the EVD victim and his wife, had denied attending to him and had gone ahead to host several people for a child-naming ceremony. Also, when the doctor died, his wife allowed people from Anambra to pay her condolence visits.

Consequently, the residents of the state had been exposed for three weeks.

However, the “tracking and tracing has been wonderful”, Amaechi said, disclosing that the Federal and Lagos State governments, World Health Organisation (WHO), Doctors Without Borders (DWB) and other organisations have been of help.

The governor warned that no one should politicise the issue as those under watch had only been quarantined in their homes and not kept in isolation (at the medical centre).

He also encouraged residents to check themselves into the medical centres to be on the safe side.

Equipped Medical Facilities In The State

Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi also said  the health centres in Rivers State is well equipped and was ready for any outbreak.

He said that the state has about 140-150 health centres, adding that one of health centres has been converted into an Ebola Centre in the state and  doctors treating these Ebola victims live in the health centres, “Before Ebola we had provided quarters for medical workers in every health centre and not in Port Harcourt alone but  in the rural areas of the state.

“We were prepared for any form of disease either Ebola or HIV he added”

Governor Amaechi stated that when he resumed office as governor of the state there were only 200 doctor but presently the state has about 600.

The governor mentioned that the state has benefited from the Lagos experience.

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.

WHO Says Ebola Outbreak Could Strike 20,000 People

EbolaThe World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people.

The United Nations health agency issued a strategic plan to combat the outbreak in four West African nations where it said the actual number of cases could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069. The death toll stands at 1,552.

“This road-map assumes that in many areas of intense transmission, the actual number of cases may be 2-4 fold higher than that currently reported. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of Ebola Virus Disease could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency,” the WHO said.

The deadly outbreak that began in Guinea in March and has spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as to Nigeria, requires a massive and coordinated international response, the WHO said.

A separate outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo identified as a different strain, is not included in its toll.

“Response activities must be adapted in areas of very intense transmission and particular attention must be given to stopping transmission in capital cities and major ports, thereby facilitating the larger response and relief effort,” the WHO said.

The virus is still being spread in a “substantial number of localities”, aggravating fragile social and economic conditions and has already killed an unprecedented number of health workers, the agency said.

A wider U.N.-led plan being launched by the end of September is “expected to underpin support for the increasingly acute problems associated with food security, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, primary and secondary health care and education, as well as the longer-term recovery effort that will be needed,” the WHO said.

Ebola: WHO Puts Toll At 1,550

Ebola The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and “continues to accelerate.

The epidemic in the region, the deadliest since the disease was first discovered in 1976, has killed nearly as many people as all the previous known outbreaks combined.

“More than 40 percent of the total number of cases have occurred within the past 21 days. However, most cases are concentrated in only a few localities,” the United Nations health agency said in a statement.

The WHO is later due to launch a new strategic plan for tackling the spread of the virulent disease.

A separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, identified as a different strain of the virus, is not included in the latest figures which cover Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The disease has overwhelmed West Africa’s already fragile health infrastructure. On Wednesday, the head of the African Development Bank said it was causing enormous damage to the economies of the region.

Nigeria’s Health Minister Confirms Two Ebola Cases In Port Harcourt

EbolaTwo new confirmed cases of Ebola virus have been recorded in Port-Harcourt, raising Nigeria’s Ebola virus status to 15, including the index case, Mr Patrick Sawyer.

The Minister confirmed this in a statement issued on Thursday, August 28, giving an update on the Ebola Virus Disease in the country.

The Health Minister’s Full Statement

The total number of cases of EVD cases so far reported in Nigeria stands at fifteen (15).

The total number of cases treated at our isolation ward stands at thirteen (13).

The total number of those discharged is seven (7).

The total number of deaths from those treated in Lagos is five (5), and the total number currently under treatment is one (1) and the person is stable and improving clinically.

You will notice that the number of cases has increased from thirteen (13) to fifteen (15).

You will also notice that this additional two (2) were not treated in the isolation ward in Lagos.

One of them is a primary contact of the index case (Mr. Patrick Sawyer). Even though presently he does not have EVD but further laboratory tests indicate that he had suffered EVD.

This primary contact of Mr. Sawyer’s evaded our surveillance team in the last week of July 2014 and travelled out of Lagos to Port Harcourt where, as we now understand, he consulted with a doctor and was apparently treated for some symptoms. After four days, following a manhunt for him, he returned to Lagos by which time he was found to be without symptoms.

This case would have been of no further interest since he had completed the 21 days of surveillance without any other issue, but for the fact that the doctor who treated him died last Friday, 22nd August, 2014.

Following the report of this death by the doctor’s widow the next day, the case had been thoroughly investigated and laboratory analysis showed that this doctor died from EVD. As a result, several contacts have now been traced, registered and placed under surveillance. However, because the widow is now symptomatic, she has been quarantined pending the outcome of laboratory tests on her.

The Incident Management Committee has already deployed a very strong team to Port Harcourt to work with the health authorities of Rivers State. Just like the situation has effectively been managed in Lagos and Enugu, the situation in Port Harcourt will also similarly be effectively managed and we have begun to do so.

The total number of deaths from Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, therefore, is now six (6), the index case (Mr. Sawyer), the four (4) primary contacts that died in the isolation ward in Lagos, and a doctor that died in Port Harcourt whose blood sample tested positive after death. Also, seventy (70) persons have been placed under surveillance in Port Harcourt.

I want to charge the residents of Port Harcourt not to panic over this situation as the experience we have gathered from Lagos and Enugu respectively indicate that there is no cause for alarm when you have the government fully in control of the situation.

Once again we appeal to all contacts under surveillance to abide by the advice given to them by the Incident Management Committee.

With regard to Enugu, all secondary contacts will be followed up till tomorrow when they are all expected to be discharged from our surveillance.

Ebola Death Recorded In Port Harcourt

ebolaA doctor in Nigeria’s city of Port Harcourt, who secretly treated a diplomat who had contact with the first case of the disease in Nigeria, has died of Ebola.

This is the country’s first Ebola death outside Lagos and the sixth fatality in Nigeria.

Health Ministry spokesman, Dan Nwomeh, confirmed that the doctor had treated a primary contact of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American who brought Ebola to Lagos.

Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, also said that the doctor had died on August 22, but the results of the tests have only just been made public.

Controversy, however, trail the number of people under surveillance. The Health Minister said that 70 people are under surveillance in the city, while his wife has been put under quarantine.

However, the Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Samson Parker, said that 100 contact persons are under surveillance and that a 24-hour surveillance has been declared on all contacts, including patients of the late Dr Iyke Enemoah.

The diplomat, who has since recovered, was part of the team who met with Patrick Sawyer in Lagos.

The World Health Organization says the Ebola outbreak, which has killed 1,427 people, is the largest ever Ebola epidemic and has infected an estimated 2,615 people.

Liberia has been hardest-hit of the affected countries, with 624 deaths and 1,082 cases since the start of the year.

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Frieden, has said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is going to get worse before it gets better.

The top US public health official said that the epidemic would need an “unprecedented” response to bring it under control.

Health ministers from across West Africa are due to meet in Ghana on Thursday to discuss the growing crisis.