Status of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria Monday, 8th September, 2014
PRESS BRIEFING BY THE MINISTER OF HEALTH, PROF. C. O. ONYEBUCHI CHUKWU
STATUS OF EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE IN NIGERIA
MONDAY, 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2014
It has been 50 days since Ebola Virus Disease was imported into Nigeria through Lagos, and 38 days since it was introduced into Port Harcourt.
So far, all the cases that have been confirmed in Nigeria are traceable to the index case, the Liberian-American, Mr. Patrick Sawyer.
As of this morning the total number of confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria is nineteen (19), fifteen (15) in Lagos, four (4) in Port Harcourt.
The 19th case is the fiancé of one of the primary contacts of Mr. Sawyer’s who died of the disease. The test results were equivocal but further tests established the disease. He had only mild symptoms and he has since recovered from the illness. He was quarantined but because of the equivocal test result he was not placed on active treatment.
The total number of deaths from EVD in Nigeria stands at seven (7). Five (5) of this died in Lagos, one (1) in a private hospital, the index case Mr. Sawyer, and the other four (4) in the isolation ward in Lagos State.
Two of the seven (7) died in Port Harcourt, the medical doctor who died in a private hospital and the contact, a patient in the hospital at the time the doctor was also on admission, who died in the isolation ward in Rivers State.
The total number of patients who have been successfully managed and discharged stands at nine (9). The latest is the sister of the Port Harcourt doctor who was discharged from the isolation ward in Rivers State yesterday. (It should be noted that the nine (9) patients successfully managed and discharged are among the total number of eleven (11) survivors of EVD in Nigeria).
At the moment only one person, the wife of the Port Harcourt doctor is on treatment in the isolation ward in Lagos. She no longer has any symptoms and is undergoing series of tests preparatory to her discharge from the isolation ward this week.
Regarding contacts currently under surveillance, Lagos has 27 contacts surveillance as of now. A total of 339 contacts who were previously on surveillance have been discharged having completed 21 days of observation.
Port Harcourt has 477 contacts under surveillance. It is a mixed group consisting of tertiary and quaternary contacts of Mr. Sawyer’s. Five (5) contacts have already been discharged from surveillance in Port Harcourt having completed 21 days of observation.
In the last one week a number of EVD rumours have been investigated and all the cases have turned out to be Ebola negative. Specifically, the rumours in Kebbi, Kaduna, Lagos, Lagos, Oyo, Ebonyi, Delta and Sokoto States as well as the Federal Capital Territory have all been debunked.
The Honourable Minister of Health and the Honourable Minister of State for Health inspected facilities for the management of EVD last Friday in Rivers State and also met with experts working at the Emergency Operations Centre in Rivers State. They were accompanied by the Honourable Commissioner for Health of Rivers State during the tour. The Minister of Health addressed health workers participating in an awareness and sensitization workshop at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), and also at the invitation of the Rivers State Government addressed Port Harcourt residents in a town hall meeting and inaugurated the Port Harcourt Local Government Ebola Response Team. The Minister also took off time to address mortuary workers at the UPTH.
I am happy to note that the facilities in Rivers State (treatment center, laboratory and EOC) are satisfactory and meet world standards. The case management team has enough medical and nursing personnel and the morale of the personnel is high.
The Federal Ministry of Health has commenced distribution of ambulances, utility vehicles and motorcycles to the Port Health Services at the international airports, seaports and land crossings. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has also commenced the training of State personnel in the management of EVD. The personal protective equipments (PPEs) which were ordered are expected in the country in a few weeks but for now we have enough.
I seize this opportunity to once again commend the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the Port Health Services, the Rivers State Government, WHO, UNICEF, US-CDC and MSF (Doctors Without Borders) for the high standard of work being carried out in Rivers State. We have continued to receive support from the private sector and during my visit to Port Harcourt, I was informed of the donations of utility vehicles and ambulances made by Shell Petroleum and Total Plc respectively.
Let me use this opportunity to clarify that the United States made the pledge of 30 body scanners in error. What eventually the US donated were 30 handheld infra-red thermometers which have been put to service.
We continue to appeal to countries and individuals not to profile or stigmatize anyone on account of EVD. In particular, we have observed that some countries have continued to selectively quarantine Nigerian travellers without any health or scientific basis. For the record, let me say clearly that while any individual from any country of the world could be a carrier of the EVD and transmit same to others, no single Nigerian as of now has introduced EVD to any country. Nigeria shall continue to support protocols approved by the WHO which do not support the closure of borders, do not restrict travel, and do not stigmatize anyone on the basis of the passport that one carries.
The Federal Government shall continue to remain vigilant and strengthen screening at our ports of entry and exit. As long as there is a single case of EVD anywhere in the world, every nation, every individual remains at risk and Nigeria and Nigerians are not exempt.
Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister