Nigeria’s Minister for Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, today confirmed a report by SaharaReporters on Wednesday about the death of a doctor who treated a diplomat who contracted Ebola from a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer. The doctor had died in Port Harcourt, capital of the oil-producing Rivers State.
The minister today confirmed that the diplomat had contracted the virus, and that the Ebola virus was responsible for killing the late doctor.
“A man who works for ECOWAS, a primary contact of the index case, evaded surveillance and travelled to Port Harcourt. He became ill and he went to [a] hospital in Port Harcourt for treatment,” the Health minister said.
“Although he recovered, the doctor who treated him died last week,” Mr. Chukwu stated. He added, “The widow of the doctor alerted us and we investigated the case. It is now confirmed that the doctor died of Ebola. His widow has been put under quarantine.
“The ECOWAS staff member is also under quarantine. There [is evidence] that he had the virus but might have recovered. We cannot rule out the option that he still has the virus,” said Mr. Chukwu.
Speaking further, Nigeria’s top health official disclosed that “two additional cases of the disease were recorded in Port Harcourt where a staff member of ECOWAS who had contact with Patrick Sawyer but evaded surveillance checked into a hospital in the city with symptoms of the deadly virus.”
The latest information brings the total number of Ebola cases in Nigeria to 15, up from the 13 announced by the health minister on Monday.
Mr. Chukwu also revealed that 70 people, all secondary contacts of the two Ebola cases in Port Harcourt, had been traced and placed under surveillance.
According to the minister, “141 persons who are secondary contacts are under surveillance in Lagos, 70 in Port Harcourt and 6 in Enugu. 200 persons have completed the 21-day incubation period of the virus without developing symptoms.”
Mr. Chukwu expressed satisfaction that Lagos State, where Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American carrier of Ebola died, has only one more case of virus. He noted that the patient was responding to treatment and may be discharged soon.