The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that there has never been any confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) infection in the country except those recorded in both Lagos and Rivers states.
The minister, who briefed newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s meeting yesterday at the Presidential Villa, also made the assurance in a press release signed by Dan Nwomeh, his Special Assistant on Media and Communication.
This is coming as the federal government also gave an indication that it may review the extension of schools’ resumption date from October 13 to the middle of this month, September.
The health minister, who briefed newsmen at the State House after the Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s meeting, said the development came following the recommendation of a body of experts set up by the government to review resumption dates for primary and secondary schools across the country.
Commenting on the current status of the killer disease in the country, Chukwu said that only two patients afflicted by the virus are currently under treatment in the country with one apiece in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
According to him, 18 persons have been infected with the disease since the outbreak of Ebola, with 14 recorded in Lagos and four in Port Harcourt.
He disclosed that seven persons, including the Liberian-American who brought the virus, Patrick Sawyer, had lost their lives to the dreaded disease while eight others have been successfully treated and discharged.
On the fate of the Staff of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) staff who evaded surveillance and traveled to Port Harcourt where he infected a doctor, the Minister said government was working on three options.
These, he said include strengthening the quarantine law; seeking advise from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on what action to take on the ECOWAS staff as well as seeking legal advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on what legal action could be taken against him.
On the rumour that some Ebola cases have been reported in some states and Abuja, Chukwu said some of the rumoured cases in the FCT and Cross-Rivers state turned negative while the case in Zaria, Kaduna state is still being investigated.
He however appealed to Nigerians to avoid spreading unsubstantiated rumours especially on the social media maintaining that doing so was capable of creating unnecessary panic and fear amongst the populace.
In a related development, following reports of the reluctance of many hospitals and health centres in Lagos to admit patients suspected to be exhibiting Enola symptoms, there are further reports that fake EVD test kits cassettes have flooded most markets in the state.
The Lagos state government however, alerted members of the public to the activities of some unscrupulous people who are purportedly marketing “Ebola Cassette Test Kit”.
In a statement, signed by the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor, Mr Hakeem Bello, the fake items, which are branded as “Rapid Response Canada” with test results purportedly available in 10 minutes, is a hoax.
According to the statement, there are no Ebola test kits manufactured anywhere in the world and that the technique for its manufacture does not exist yet, adding that members of the public should not patronize the dubious marketers of the product.
Also, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris lamented that some hospitals in the state have started to reject patients with feverish condition even without trace of Ebola just for fear that they might be having the disease.