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Published On: Mon, Aug 18th, 2014

How Ebola patients are being cured – Minister

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nigeria minister of health
  • 61 discharged in Lagos
  • 20 flee Liberian quarantine

By Doyin Ojosipe, Suleiman Idris with Agency report

The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, has given an insight into the therapeutic formula adopted by the Nigerian authorities which is proving to be an effective antidote to the deadly Ebola virus.

 The Minister revealed in an exclusive interview with Peoples Daily yesterday that a combination of therapy which he described as ‘Supportive Treatment’ is the magic formula which is yielding positive result.

The Media Assistant to the Minister, Dan Nwomeh who gave the indication when contacted by Peoples Daily yesterday explained that the miracle behind the Ebola patients’ survival was the application of supportive treatments, which s in accordance with WHO protocol; including the use of immunity boosters.

He said individuals are likely to respond differently to treatment depending on their immunity level, hence the resort to the combination therapy to raise the immunity level of  patients.

He did not however specify the particular drugs involved in the combination process. But The Minister had earlier ruled out the administration of a Canadian drug, Nano-silver because it did not meet the requirement of National Health Research Ethics Code.

There were reports yesterday that three Liberian doctors were administered with the American drug, Zmapp.

Nigeria might be among the few countries where patients who tested positive to the virus have recovered fully, should the few persons under the treatment also get over the disease.

It could be good news that Nigerian Ebola patients are responding positively to treatment, with the latest news of complete recovery and subsequent discharge of a female Nigerian Doctor, who was one of those that attended to the first victim, Patrick Sawyer.

This has ushered in a ray of hope that Ebola virus might not be automatic licence to death afterall.

61 Nigerians under surveillance cleared  in Lagos

Meanwhile, the Lagos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola, said yesterday that 61 people, from among the lot that had primary and secondary contact with the late Ebola victim Patrick Sawyer of Liberia have been released.

The state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said they were cleared last week, having been observed for 21 days and have not developed any symptom associated with the deadly disease.

In a broadcast to the state, he said “we cleared a total of 61 contacts after the 21 days surveillance which is the known lifespan of the virus.”

Fashola said “we are facing perhaps our biggest challenge to public health and the safety of human lives at this moment with the discovery of the Ebola virus in our state.

This poses a threat to the primary purpose of our Government which is to save lives.”

Though The World Health Organisation (WHO) has earlier revealed that the chances of survival are now 45% survival and 50% death, it made mention that supportive treatment could increase the chances of survival.

In Dr. Tom Frieden’s words, “Yes, there is!  It is basic supportive health care, with fluid management, blood and blood product transfusions if indicated, treatment of bacterial super-infections if patients develop these, and general nursing care. With these cores, proven, readily deployable interventions, the death rate from Ebola infections can be cut substantially.”

Dr. Frieden, the CDC Director, also confirmed that the disease is not airborne and that the only way the disease can be transmitted is through body fluids of an infected person, adding that the Ebola infected person must have presented with fever like sickness before he can be highly contagious.

Cameron shuts sea borders with Nigeria

Fearing the emergence of Ebola outbreak in Cameron, its government has shut its sea borders with Nigeria, which has made stranded passengers unable to get vessel to ferry them to the country, while concerned authorities have declined to comment on the latest development.

However, the passengers, who wore disappointing looks on their faces, were seen discussing in clusters.

Those who volunteered to speak after much pressure said they were instructed by security personnel at the Inland Waterways not to speak to the press about the development.

One of them, Mr. Anthony Obi, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently intervene, noting that the development was going to negatively affect Nigerian traders doing business in Cameroon.

Patients flee  Liberian quarantine

An Ebola quarantine centre in Liberia has been looted by a gang who reportedly took bloodstained sheets and forced 17 patients to flee, raising the chances of the virus spreading.

The attack happened at a unit in the West Point area of Monrovia late on Saturday. Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the attack, told the AFP news agency on Sunday that the gang were mostly young men armed with clubs.

Wesseh said she heard the attackers shouting anti-government slogans and insisting there was “no Ebola” in Liberia. “They broke down the door and looted the place. The patients have all gone,” she said.

The head of Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams, said the unit had housed 29 patients who were receiving preliminary treatment before being taken to hospital.

“Of the 29 patients, 17 fled last night. Nine died four days ago and three others were taken by force by their relatives,” he said. “They had all tested positive for Ebola.”

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