Official Response to the Rumours of a Suspected Ebola Case by Permanent Secretary
This Press Briefing should be seen and taken as the official response to the rumours of a suspected Ebola case of a 21 year-old-male student in a certain place in Nigeria: these rumours have been making rounds since two days now.
2. Management of the Federal Ministry of Health on behalf of the Government of Nigeria is most thankful to the Journalists from many of the media houses who placed a call on the Ministry alerting us of the rumours in the air concerning this subject matter.
3. I am also thankful to our field epidemiologists and Port-Health officials for their management of the rumours at the various field locations where they found themselves confronted with questions about the rumours.
4. Our successful containment of Ebola in Nigeria precisely in October, 2014 had since then generated the optimism to build a more resilient health system. I want to make bold to say that through such optimism aided by deep patriotic devotion, we have between then and now prevented the resurgence of Ebola in Nigeria.
5. We have followed the recent rumours of Ebola to find that it is the case of a 21 year-old-male student of the University of Calabar who was brought into the casualty ward of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital by the mother and other family members on 7th October 2015, at about 1a.m. has been investigated clinically and laboratory tests carried out.
6. He was admitted with bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes and mouth lesions. His temperature on admission was 37 degrees centigrade and his vital signs were stable. The parents said that the patient had never travelled outside Calabar. On the basis of the signs and symptoms, a tentative diagnosis of viral hemorrhagic fever, to rule out Lassa fever was made. Some of his family members, specially the brother and sister had a history of chicken pox in the last one week, prior to his falling ill.
7. The patient was treated with antipyretics and antibiotics during the course of illness and received intravenous fluids. Sadly, at exactly 8:15am, 7 hours post-admission the patient passed on.
8. The death created panic among the medical team that attended to him, 15 health workers and eight (8) patients who had direct or indirect contact with the diseased where quarantined. Other hospital workers were provided with thermometers to monitor their temperature twice daily.
9. The blood sample collected from the patient was taken to Irrua Lassa Fever Specialist Hospital Laboratory for confirmation of haemorrhagic fever disease that included Ebola Virus, Lassa fever, Dengue Fever and other viruses. A Rapid Response Team (RRT) from the NCDC/National Field Epedimiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP) headed by Dr. Debola Olayinka was deployed within 24hours to the hospital specifically on the 8th of October 2015. The rapid response team comprised infection prevention and control (IPC) experts, clinical and lab experts on EVD, including experts that participated in the Ebola virus response in Sierra Leone.
10. The team immediately commenced containment activities and assisted the hospital and state government in the sensitization of citizens and health workers on standard precaution procedures. To further assist the State Government, another emergency response team led by Mr. John Kehinde, Director, Health Emergency Response/Disaster Management of the NCDC, was dispatched with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to decontaminate the entire hospital and the affected environment.
11. Tests on the blood sample were run throughout the night and at 8a.m.thismorning; results confirmed that the diseased was negative for both the Ebola Virus and Lassa Fever Virus. Additional tests using next generation sequencing methods are currently being carried out at the Redeemers University African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Ede, Osun State, to confirm which virus must have caused the infection and death. The result of these tests is expected on Monday October 12th 2015.
12. The FMOH hereby confirms that there is no Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, and thus Nigeria remains Ebola free. The general public is however advised to continue to observe good hygienic behavior that includes hand washing, hand sanitization and general environmental cleanliness.
13. I wish to solicit that all Nigerians collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health and the entire Health care teams to report any suspected cases and ensure we maintain safe burial practices to avoid reintroduction of Ebola into Nigeria. Our Port Health Services have been on the alert and passenger screenings have continued at all our ports of entry.
14. To conclude, this incident has once again demonstrates that the fight against Ebola must be a perfect team work based on effective collaboration between Federal, State governments, partners and the private sector.
15. Together we stand to move the nation forward.
16. Thank you all