Nigerians have been advised to be calm and not panic over the reported case of Ebola Virus in Lagos State, with an assurance that no Nigerian is infected with the virus.
Addressing a joint Ministerial Press briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Health on development concerning the disease on Monday, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, affirmed that there had only been one case of imported Ebola resulting in the death of a Liberian diplomat in Lagos.
He emphasised that health authorities were being very proactive about the detection of the Ebola Virus in the Liberian, who was on his way to Calabar for a conference, by ensuring that all contacts were being actively followed.
Dr Idris said part of the measures taken after the death of the Liberian was the demobilisation of the private hospital where he was admitted and elimination of primary source of infection.
He stated that the decontamination process in all affected areas had commenced.
“The corpse of the victim has since been cremated, and the ash is awaiting further directives from the Liberian Embassy,” he said, commending the Management of the hospital for effectively detecting a high-risk patient within 24 hours.
“Adhering strictly to WHO guidelines, the body of the deceased patient was decontaminated using 10% sodium hypochlorite and cremated, with the permission of the government of Liberia. A cremation urn has been prepared for dispatch to the family. The vehicle that conveyed the remains was also fully decontaminated,” he added.
In terms of contacts tracing, Dr Idris explained that so far a total of 59 contacts was registered consisting of 44 hospital contacts (38 healthcare workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 Airport contacts comprising 3 ECOWAS staff-driver, Liaison, and Protocol officers, Nigerian Ambassador to Monrovia, two nursing staff and five Airport passenger handlers.
He further explained that out of the number, 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50 per cent were of the type one contact and another 50 per cent had type two contacts.
The Airline manifest has not been provided by the airline at the time of this report and therefore, the precise number of passenger contacts is yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos). There was no report of a medical incident filed.
Dr Idris stated that an isolation ward was designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management while the designation of three other health facilities is underway.
The Commissioner also said a call-in team was established for the public to dial in and obtain information on the Ebola Virus Disease while Toll-free lines were obtained from a telecommunication service provider to be used for answering questions, creating awareness, and receiving notifications of any suspected case just as public awareness creation through social media such as Twitter and Facebook’s accounts had been also activated.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori, who was also at the briefing said all the contact persons are being screened on a continuous basis to look for any possible signs of the disease.
He commended the timely action taken by the Lagos State Government and the private hospital adding that there is absolutely no need for people to panic as the golden rule is to observe the personal hygiene of always washing the hands regularly with soap.
In a statement issued after the press briefing, a spokesman for the governor of Lagos State, Mr Hakeem Bello, assured Nigerians that both the State and Federal Governments were well prepared to ensure that the Ebola Virus Disease did not spread.
Also at the briefing were the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Modele Osunkiyesi, Permanent Secretary, Health Services Commission, Dr Hamid Balogun and Permanent Secretary Primary Health Care Board, Dr Kayode Oguntimehin
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