8th Ebola Survivor Released In Nigeria

Onyebuchi Chukwu on Ebola Virus.The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Wednesday confirmed the release of the 8th Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) survivor in Nigeria, adding that 18 cases have been recorded so far.

The Minister, briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said, “The total number of confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria is now 18.

“The 18th confirmed case is the sister of the late Port Harcourt doctor,” he said, adding that “the total number of cases successfully managed and discharged is now eight.”

Prof Chukwu also stated that the last case to be discharged, the first secondary contact to be diagnosed and a spouse of a primary contact of the index case, went home from the isolation ward in Lagos on Tuesday, confirming the 9th survivor as “the ECOWAS Commission official who jumped surveillance in Lagos and travelled to Port Harcourt”.

The Minister also confirmed that the total number of deaths from Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria was seven.

“One, the index case, occurred in a private hospital in Lagos, four in the Lagos isolation ward, one in the Port Harcourt isolation ward (the female patient who was on admission in the same hospital where the late Port Harcourt doctor was also admitted), while another one (1) was the doctor who was infected by the ECOWAS Commission official in Port Harcourt and who did not come under the care and management of the Incident Management Committee”, he said.

He added that two EVD patients were currently under treatment in the Lagos and Port Harcourt isolation wards.

“Total number of contacts currently under surveillance in Lagos is 41, while Port Harcourt has 255.

“Total number of contacts discharged in Lagos after they were observed for 21 days is 320”, he said.

The Minister also debunked rumours of EVD cases outside Lagos and Port Harcourt and debunked rumours that the body of the late Port Harcourt doctor was transported to Edo or Delta State, insisting that the body has been decontaminated and would be interred in Port Harcourt.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has partnered with the Rivers State Government to contain the spread of EVD in the state.

In a briefing with journalists at the Rivers State Ministry of Health in Port Harcourt, the WHO Country Representative, Mr Rui Vaz, said that WHO was bringing to bear in the fight against the disease, the expert training, assistance and logistical support to achieve containment and to ensure control in the Port Harcourt entry into the state.



Lagos Records Five New Ebola Cases

Ebola_casesThe Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, has confirmed five new Ebola cases in the state.

Dr Idris, who said the Ebola cases were reported to the Yaba Mainland Hospital, however noted that one of the victims has been discharged.

“We have six from the statistics we have, but one person was discharged yesterday”,he said, at a press conference.

The Commissioner noted that “till date, we have recorded eight suspected cases, five of which came in yesterday, 12 confirmed,” said Dr. Idris.

“On the whole, five have died (including the index case). We are currently following up 213 contacts, and 62 have completed the two-day follow-up,” he added.

Dr. Idris paid tributes to the deceased Senior Consultant and Endocrinologist at First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende, Stella Adadevoh, who passed away on Tuesday after suffering from the virus.

“She, it was, who took the initiative to intimate the Ministry concerning the index case – Liberian-American (Mr. Patrick Sawyer) and substantially to her credit the moderate containment achieved is owed,” said Dr. Idris.

“She led the team who attended to the index case. Her doggedness and commitment to duty saw her personally reviewing the case even though the patient had earlier been seen by a doctor.

“The Ministry of Health commiserates with their families, co-workers, friends and loved ones on these irreparable losses which was on the line of duty,” he added.

Dr. Idris also said that the government’s “vigorous” contact tracing is now shifting from primary to secondary contacts , adding that “the mode of spread remains mainly transmission from an infected person in an infective state and from an infected animal (bat, monkey, etc) to a person”.

Nigerians Should Remain Vigilant

Meanwhile, Dr Idris called on all Nigerians to be vigilant “as human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill (fever being a key sign) from Ebola virus through body fluids such as blood, urine, stool, saliva, breast milk, semen, and vomit.

“Burial ceremonies where mourners including family members have direct contact with patients who died of Ebola have also played a role in the spread and direct contact with dead bodies should be minimized at this period, even as washing and burial/disposal of such bodies should be professionally handled with safety to personal health of handlers being a cardinal focus,” he added.

He also urged Lagos residents not to panic as health personnel are in place to manage the current cases, while efforts are doubled to secure the services of more volunteers to cope with any contingency.

“Certain concerns have been raised regarding those already discharged. I wish to re-assure you that the discharge process was in line with WHO International Health Regulations and they are still being followed up. No recorded carrier state in person that have recovered from the disease has been recorded,” said Dr. Idris.

“I encourage persons who have come in contact with infected persons to report early for treatment as such improves chances of survival.”

WHO Commends Nigeria’s Efforts In Containing Ebola

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended efforts made in containing the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.

A comment posted on their website

said “the situation in Lagos, Nigeria, where the first imported case was detected in July, looks reassuring”.

It further noted that “Intensive contact tracing, conducted by Nigerian health officials and staff from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has not, so far, identified any further confirmed cases outside the initial transmission chain.

“The intensity of the search and monitoring effort raises cautious optimism that further spread of the virus in Nigeria can be stopped. The search for additional cases continues, as does the current high level of vigilance”,

“At present, the city’s 12 confirmed cases are all part of a single chain of transmission”, it said.

WHO Commends Nigeria’s Efforts In Containing Ebola

Ebola patient Held By health workersThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended efforts made in containing the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.

A comment posted on their website

said “the situation in Lagos, Nigeria, where the first imported case was detected in July, looks reassuring”.

It further noted that “Intensive contact tracing, conducted by Nigerian health officials and staff from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has not, so far, identified any further confirmed cases outside the initial transmission chain.

“The intensity of the search and monitoring effort raises cautious optimism that further spread of the virus in Nigeria can be stopped. The search for additional cases continues, as does the current high level of vigilance”,

“At present, the city’s 12 confirmed cases are all part of a single chain of transmission”, it said.

United States Donates Body Scanners

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the United States government has donated 30 body scanners for screening at airports and border areas.

He said the donation was following the meeting President Goodluck Jonathan held with the United States President to fashion out ways of checking the spread of the virus.

The Nigerian President had approved an intervention fund of 1.9 billion Naira last week to help contain the spread of the virus that has claimed the lives of five persons in Lagos state, the only state with reported cases of Ebola.

Ebola was first reported in Nigeria in July, when a Liberia-American man, Patrick Sawyer tested positive to the virus.

Sawyer died on July 25.

British Scientists: 30,000 People Need Experimental Ebola Drugs

zmappBritish scientists have said that up to 30,000 people could have used experimental treatments or vaccines so far in the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola currently plaguing West Africa.

The calculation highlights the dilemma facing officials considering how to distribute the tiny quantities of unproven drugs that are likely to be available in the near term to fight the deadly disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is hoping for improved supplies of experimental treatments and progress with a vaccine by the end of the year, after last week backing the use of untested drugs and vaccines.

Oliver Brady, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, and colleagues have been crunching the numbers and believe the number of people needing such treatment or protection is very large, even under a conservative scenario.

One rare experimental drug, ZMapp, has already been used on two American aid workers and is now being given to three African healthcare workers who showed symptoms of the disease, all of whom have shown very promising signs of recovery.

But California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, which makes the drug, has said its scarce supplies are now exhausted and producing more will take time. It is currently working with Kentucky BioProcessing and the U.S. government to accelerate scaled-up production.

There are other drugs in the pipeline but all are unproven and have yet to clear even the earliest stage of clinical trials. Brady said available stocks were limited to treatment courses for tens or at most hundreds of people.

Ebola Virus: Kaduna Organises Ebola Training For Health Workers

Ebola VirusThe Kaduna State Government on Tuesday organised a training for its health workers across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state and also inaugurated a task force to educate the people about the Ebola Virus Disease and how to curb its spread in the state.

Although the outbreak of the virus was yet to be reported in the state and the northern part of the country since it broke out in Lagos, the State Government and residents decided not to leave anything to chance in order to avoid the disease entering into the state.

The Kaduna Refinery also held a sensitisation meeting for its staff and host communities about the virus.

The training, organised in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), was a fallout of the emergency meeting between the 36 state governors and President Goodluck Jonathan on how to prevent further spread of the virus in the country.

Nigeria, along with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been the hardest hit countries by the epidemic, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called the worst in four decades.

The outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria has prompted a review of traditional practices of various government and private institutions, religious faiths, and communities.

The virus has also stimulated significant research in the academic community into finding possible cure and avoid further spread of the virus. It is expected that citizens would adhere to all the health tips and warnings by medical experts.

Health Workers At Higher Risk Of Contracting Rare African Virus

Dr. Ismail Abdus-SalamA public health physician and State Epidemiologist from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam, on Saturday warned that health workers are at a higher risk of contracting the rare Ebola Virus, which was first discovered in then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Africa in 1976.

“The health workers are highly at risk of contracting this infection because you need a high index of suspicion to take care of the patient and you might not even know when you are dealing with a patient that had this viral hemorrhagic fever,” he said, while appearing on Sunrise.

Mr Abdul-Salam who noted that the virus led to the death of 88 percent of those infected in the first recorded outbreak, explained that the Ebola hemorrhagic fever is caused by Ebola virus which is in the same family with the yellow fever virus.

On 23rd March, the Ministry of Health of Guinea informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the epidemic of Ebola Virus in the country. As of April 1st, 127 people had been infected and 83 deaths, giving about 65 percent death rate. “This shows it is a very deadly disease.”

Although there is no known cure for the disease, the epidemiologist said sound knowledge of the reservoir of the infection and the method of transmission will help in curbing the epidemic. He further disclosed that “Bats, especially, have been incriminated” as reservoirs of the Ebola Virus but it has also been linked to primates … like monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas.

“They harbour the virus which live and multiply in them and at the end of the day they do not do any harm to those reservoirs who act as a source of transmission,” he added.

According to him, the virus can be contracted via “close contact with the animal itself, with the body fluid of that animal, with the blood of that animal or secretions of that animal.” He stressed that contact with these aforementioned will surely lead to infection.

Dr. Abdul-Salam noted that the infection can be contacted from direct contact with humans who have been infected or carry the virus, adding that contact via inhalation is possible but it has not been established.

“Apart from that, direct contact even with the dead body” of persons who died as a result of the infection can lead to others being infected, he said, warning that “a lot of care has to be taken by those who would do the normal ritual” in preparation for burial. Such caretakers must use personal protective equipment that are specialised for the type of disease.

Although the incubation period of the Ebola virus has been pegged as 2-21 days, the signs and symptoms are “non-specific” and may range from normal feeling of sickness, to muscle weakness, malaise, sore throat, difficulty in swallowing.

This also makes it difficult for the health worker to immediately identify the Ebola Virus but signs such as passing of blood through different body openings, especially the rectum are strong indications.

He advised members of the public who develop non-specific symptoms which seem to defy treatment to be at alert. Others should avoid contact with persons who display symptoms of the disease. Dead bodies of those who died from infection should be avoided.

Also, “we have to take extra care when dealing with animals and animal products.”

WHO Certifies Nigeria Guinea Worm Free Country

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has certified Nigeria as a Guinea Worm free country. The cheering news was broken on Wednesday by President Goodluck Jonathan while declaring open the first Federal Executive Council  in the year at the Presidential Villa.

President Jonathan said the news came as a gift to him as the country is making extra effort to ensure that other communicable disease s like Wild Polio will also soon be a thing of the past.

“The certification by WHO is a global recognition of how far we have come and the success of the work that has been done to rid our nation of this scourge,” the president said. “Eradication of guinea worm disease that has long plagued many parts of our country has placed interminable burden on our citizens and as a government we have been working very hard and today we have received the good news,” he said.

He further said: “Just as we have fought the incidence of guinea worm and succeeded so are we committed in our fight against many endemic diseases such as HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis and of course Polio.

“While polio is yet to be eliminated in our country, we have seen the impressive results in the control of wild polio virus type 3 transmission as well as reduction of about 50 per cent cases of wild polio type 1 in 2013 compared to 2012. Similarly no new cases of wild polio virus has been reported in the last 3 months.

“We are hopeful that transmission of wild polio will be interrupted this year, at least before the end of the year “.

He commended all those who worked with Nigeria to achieve the feat, promising that he will not rest until the country is entirely free from the other diseases ravaging humanity such as HIV/AIDS.

The certificate  was presented to the president by the Minister of Health, Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu, who expressed elation that the programme on Guinea worm eradication, which started under the Yaradua administration, was successfully seen through the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Mimiko Urges Nursing Mothers To Avail Their Wards For Vaccination

Ondo state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has called on the people of the State, especially nursing mothers, to take their children and wards to the health facilities across the state for free vaccination against measles and other childhood killer diseases.

Dr Mimiko stated this during the flag off ceremony of the 2013 Integrated Measles Campaign programme in Akure, the State capital.

Health Statistics reveal that measles, a highly contagious viral infection, is the leading cause of mortality in children under 5 years old, in Sub Saharan African countries.

This condition prompted the state government to embark on a strategic immunisation exercise that will drastically reduce deaths and diseases resulting from measles and other childhood killer diseases in the state.

Representatives of partner agencies including the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and the National Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA) delivered separate goodwill messages at the programme.

Governor Mimiko informed the gathering that the campaign is targeted at children between 0 to 59 months old, adding that, it would be integrated with polio vaccination.

He called on local government chairmen, traditional and religious leaders, women leaders and all other stakeholders to ensure a high coverage of the campaign in the state.

The Integrated Measles Campaign 2013 is expected to hold between 2nd and 6th November.