Thursday, August 14, 2014

Out of control! Ebola virus hits Enugu state

Lagos is not the only state in Nigeria that has been hit by the deadly Ebola Virus Disease; Enugu has become the next in line.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku revealed that 21 persons so far has being quarantined in Enugu because of the virus.

Maku told State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday that Enugu came into the picture because one of the nurses that treated the index case of EVD in Nigeria, American-Liberian, Patrick Sawyer who died on July 25 in an Obalende, Lagos hospital five days after he arrived in the country, shunned medical advice and travelled to the city.

The minister said, "All those who had primary contacts have been quarantined. Secondary contacts have also been traced.

"So far, the number of people that have been traced is 198. Out of this number, 177 are in Lagos. Some are in quarantine, some are being monitored by health specialists.

"21 persons in Enugu are also being watched. This is because one of the nurses that was involved with the treatment of the index case, unfortunately, disobeyed medical instructions and somehow travelled to Enugu.

"All those who she was in contact with, including her husband, are under quarantine. The medical team have been able to trace all those who came into contact with her.

"Health workers are now in all our border units. We also have health workers that are working in our airports and seaports.

"We are calling on citizens specifically to cooperate. If health workers say you have had come into contact with A,B,C, don't move to anywhere, respect that judgment. It is very important.

"In one or two cases where we have had disobedience, we lost one of them and this one now moved with it to another place (Enugu).

"So, we are urging Nigerians, please to help us in making sure that all these messages and appeals we are making on you, we implement them."

On possible treatment, Maku said some Nigerians who felt they could assist in developing therapies for the virus had started approaching the government.

He said a special committee set up for that purpose had started collating the various claims with a view to verifying them and making recommendations to the government.

The minister added, "In terms of possible treatment, the Ministry of Health has set up a special committee specifically to take claims from Nigerians who believe they could help and so far we have had a lot of reports from Nigerians at home and abroad who came forward to say they have possibility of developing therapies that could help in fighting the virus.

"There is no cure so far anywhere in the world. Even the trial drug in the US is still a trial drug. It has not been established that it can cure EVD.

''One of the doctors and research experts that came forward is Dr. Simon Agwale, who has been one of the frontline global researchers on developing vaccines for HIV and other viral diseases.

"He also came forward and said he could help, both in terms of working out to develop a vaccine, which he said he has started work on with his fellow experts in the United States.

"The Minister of Health has given support and directed him to the committee. He also discussed the possibility of a certain therapy that they can now use which could be applied. And again, that is being discussed. And once it is approved, it could be used."

Maku said contrary to some media reports, no case of the virus had been reported in Abuja.

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