The Federal Ministry of Health has dismissed reports of the resurgence of Ebola in Calabar, Cross River State, as a mere rumour.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Mr Linus Awute, told journalists in Abuja that the story which has been making the rounds since Wednesday was a case of an undergraduate student of the University of Calabar who fell ill and was admitted into the university’s teaching hospital.
According to him, although the patient who died seven hours after admission, had symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus, results from tests already conducted proved negative.
He, however, told the journalists that further test on the blood samples of the deceased was being carried out at the Redeemers University laboratory to identify the nature of the disease that killed the student.
Ahead of the September 22 date approved for the resumption of schools across the country, the non-governmental organisation of Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan, has launched a campaign to sensitise mothers on the Ebola virus disease.
The Women for Change Initiative is a non-governmental organisation of Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan, which mobilizes women for socio-economic and political change in Nigeria.
According to the group, targeting the women is one sure way of helping school children, who will soon return to their classes, to prevent the spread of the disease.
The group says zonal and states coordinators of the organisation would train parents at the grassroots on personal hygiene before children return to schools. They would also be trained on how to identify symptoms of the deadly virus.
At the launch, some of the training provided by team of medical experts from the State House included how to identify the disease, good personal hygiene and the need to avoid contact with body fluids.
Some of the participants told Channels Television that the training received would enable them educate their children on how to relate with other children and adults when they get back to their schools.
Nigeria’s school children ought to have resumed from their holidays in the first week of September, but as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, the Federal Government postponed the resumption of schools to September 22.
The Government expects that the Ebola virus would be completely contained before the new date of resumption.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
Two 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.
A 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 World Health Organisation (WHO) has said on Friday, that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has led to 1,427 deaths out of 2,615 known cases.
In its latest update, the WHO reported 142 new laboratory-confirmed, probable or suspected cases and 77 more Ebola deaths from four affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
Earlier, the WHO said that the scale of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak had been concealed by families hiding infected loved ones in their homes and the existence of “shadow zones” that medics cannot enter.
It is due to issue a global strategy plan towards the end of next week in Geneva.
The Head, Ebola Emergency Operations in Nigeria, Dr. Faisal Shuaib on Thursday dismissed claims that there are new cases of Ebola victims in Nigeria apart from those who had contact with the primary index.
He maintained that the Ebola patients, who had primary contact with the index patient, Patrick Sawyer, still remain those reported.
” We have 12 confirmed cases of the Ebola outbreak, with five discharged patients and five deaths”, noting that “in the whole of Nigeria we have only two persons with the Ebola virus and four persons who are in isolation centre presently.
“There are two cases which had a direct primary contact of the index patient and there is no new case(s) of the Ebola Virus”, he noted.
“Nobody leaves the health facility in good fitting to go home when he is infectious.
“There is a discharge protocol that we follow which indicates that there is no symptoms, adding that laboratory tests are conducted and when turned to a negative form, the patient is good to go home, and will not transmit the disease.
“There is no evidence what so ever in the literature that anybody can transmit the virus to his spouse through semen, it has not been documented and I do not know where he got his fact from. this might create panic to people”, he stressed.
According to Dr. Shuaib, the agency controlling and containing the virus has a joint-solving approach for the emergency treatment of the Ebola virus.
“We have a situation where we have all partner agencies bringing all their resources both material and human into one group led by the government” adding that strategies are in place to examine and coordinate further spread of the epidemic.
” We have daily meetings twice where we have all strategies developed against Ebola outbreak. Data is anaylsed and interpreted in terms of the current stage of the Ebola outbreak and examined”, he noted.
Dr. Shuaib added that the best health care practitioners are working hard in Nigeria to curb the further spread of the virus.
“In the cases of the Ebola outbreak, the best doctors are working with Nigerian doctors, so that we could have one focus in curbing the virus and making sure all efforts are put in the same direction. This is why we are cautiously optimistic that it will bring a lot of progress”, he emphasised.
He also, noted that the Ebola Emergency Centre was currently at the Central Public Health Laboratory in Yaba Lagos.
He however encouraged States in the federation to have centres in order to curb the rise of the virus
” We encourage States to set up their emergency centres by reputing data analysis and interpretation of data so that it can define an epidemic and place strategies to curb further spread of the virus”, noting that “the obligation of the centre strategised in the country was to ensure that there is no further spread of the virus.
“What the centre does is to cast a wide net to ensure that any body that had any contant with the Ebola patient, is brought in and observed.
” We are optimistic that they might not see new cases,we are not relenting at all; we are going out to do surveillance in communities .
Since the disease broke out early this year, at least 1,200 deaths have been recorded in West Africa.
The Kaduna State branch of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has advised both the federal and state governments to focus more of their enlightenment campaign on the Ebola virus disease to the rural communities rather than concentrating on the urban areas.
The association said that this has become imperative because majority of the rural dwellers eat more bush meat than their urban counterparts, and are also not properly enlightened to know the risks associated with the Ebola virus disease.
The Kaduna State NMA Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, gave this advice at a press briefing in Kaduna on Saturday, where he debunked rumours spreading round the state since Thursday that there was an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the state.
He advised the residents to always confirm any issue relating to the Ebola case from health personnel instead of relying on rumours. He also advised them to adopt measures of protecting themselves from contracting the virus.
Mr Ibrahim reiterated the willingness of his members to attend to any case of Ebola or any other emergency in the state, despite the ongoing strike by medical doctors across the country.
He, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s insurance cover for health workers who are attending to victims of Ebola virus, as well as the level of preparedness shown so far by both the Federal Government and the 36 state governments.