Nigeria Ambassador to Liberia, Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie and 58 others had contact with Patrick Sawyer, the victim of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), who died in Lagos last Thursday, just as the Lagos state government said 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, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said that 59 people had contact with the late Sawyer, which include the Nigerian Ambassador to Laberia.
“So far, a total of 59 contacts have been registered, consisting 44 hospital contacts (38 healthcare workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 Airport contacts, comprising 3 ECOWAS staff-driver, Liaison, and Protocol officer, Nigerian Ambassador to Monrovia, two nursing staff and five Airport passenger handlers.
“As of the time of this report, 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50% are type 1 contact and 50% had had type 2 contact. 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),” he disclosed.
On case management, infection prevention and control, Idris said an isolation ward had been designated by the state Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management, adding that the designation of three other health facilities was underway.
“A total of 100 Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, were procured by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) have been distributed to the private hospital and the State Ministry of Health. WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the NCDC/FMOH.
“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 stated.
According to Idris, government could categorically state that as of today only one case of imported Ebola and one death had been recorded in Lagos, saying that no Nigerian had been infected, but that all contacts were being actively followed.
“We call on all Nigerians to be calm and not panic and do hereby assure them that both the State and Federal Governments are up in arms to ensure that the virus did not escape and that no Nigeria is infected with this virus,” he assured.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. 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.
Tomori 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.