As feared all along, spouses of two of the victims infected with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) by late Liberian Patrick Sawyer in Lagos, who were secondary contacts, have tested positive to the EVD.
While the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) declared yesterday said most of the secondary EVD contacts are no longer a threat to public health, former President Olusegun Obasanjo commended the efforts of the Federal and Lagos State governments at checking the spread of the EVD.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu announced the EVD positive status of the spouses of the Sawyer primary contacts in Abuja while briefing journalists on the update of the EVD in the country.
The minister said: “Nigeria has now recorded two first cases of Ebola Virus Disease in secondary contacts of the index case, the Liberian-American.
The two patients are spouses of primary contacts of the Liberian-American. They are among the secondary contacts who have been under surveillance.
"This now brings to four (4) the total number of Ebola Virus Disease patients currently under treatment at the isolation ward.
"This also means that the total number of cases of Ebola Virus Disease so far reported in the country is fourteen (14). The number of deaths still remains five (5), while the number of those successfully managed and discharged also stands at five (5)."
Chukwu stressed that the federal government, working with the Lagos State Government and other partners, would continue to maintain vigilance, “continue to strengthen our containment activities, and wishes to reassure the Nigerian public and the global community that efforts will not relent until the very last case of the Ebola Virus Disease is seen in Nigeria."
The minister said Nigeria could not start talking about complete eradication of the virus, “given that there is still some degree of uncertainty.”
He further called for calm from the public.
The minister also bemoaned the tendency of persons creating panic among the public, warning that nobody should misinform the public on the issue of Ebola.
He also kicked against the wearing of hand gloves and masks by members of the public other than health workers.
Chukwu said: "nobody should go about wearing masks, masks are only to be worn by health workers with intimate contacts with the patients."
Also yesterday, the minister reiterated federal government’s commitment to honouring late Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh who played a crucial in ensuring that the Ebola Virus Disease did not go viral as it had in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Chukwu stated this when members of the Association of Private Medical Practitioners visited him in Abuja to discuss the way forward for stemming the spread of the virus.
Chukwu while commending the efforts of private medical practitioners said the roles of the First Consultant Hospital and late Dr Adadevoh were very crucial in ensuring that the virus did not go viral as it had in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
"You have lost one of your colleague, Dr Adadevoh; we mourn her and all Nigerians who lost their lives to Ebola. We will ensure that her bravery, courage and patriotism will not go unnoticed.
"Very soon, you will hear about her honour. Very soon, the number one citizen will say something about it," Chukwu told the private medical practitioners led by Dr Frank Odake.
Dr. Adadevoh, one of the country’s best consultant physicians, contracted the dreaded EVD from the index case and died on Tuesday at 58.
Adadevoh who worked at First Consultants Medical Centre, a Lagos-based hospital, where Sawyer, was admitted was said to have passed on after all efforts to revive her from coma failed.
The late Adadevoh, a great grand-daughter of Herbert Macaula, was a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, and a member of the Nigerian Medical Association and the British-Nigerian Association.
She obtained her MBBS degree from the University of Lagos, Akoka as well as a Diploma in Endocrinology from the University of London.
She was a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College.
The late Adadevoh practised in the United Kingdom and Nigeria for more than three decades.
Obasanjo Commends Lagos, FG…
With most Nigerians still struggling to cope with the news Adedevoh’s death, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has commended the efforts of Federal and Lagos State governments at checking the spread of EVD in the country.
According to the former president, Lagos state government and federal government separately and collectively have done very well in the prompt measures taken to stem the tide of Ebola disease and to prevent the spread into an epidemic proportion both in Lagos and in the country.
In his statement at the opening ceremony of the 11th Biennial International Conference on "Drugs, Alcohol and Society in Africa" organized by the African Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) in Lagos, Obasanjo called for a collective efforts in the West African region to stem the tide of the virus in the region.
He said: "I have always believed that where we have done well, we should be able to commend ourselves whether or not anybody commends us or not. On the other hand, where we have not done well enough, we should be bold and courageous enough to admit our failing, show remorse and make correction.
"We should hail these efforts which are in contrast to the efforts and time deployed to rescue the 276 Chibok girls abducted. The difference is clear and the results are obvious. Where we fail like in Chibok, no excuse will absolve us from the responsibility and guilt that will remain for years and decades to come.
Obasanjo particularly recognized the presence of international participants who "have come to join their colleagues here in Nigeria in spite of the anxiety generated by the Ebola disease in the country.” He thanked them for their confidence, interest and encouragement in Nigeria.
At the West Africa sub-regional level, Obasanjo opined that there is the need for collective action at the professional, ministerial and summit levels for a common approach, collaboration, solidarity, standards and operations.
Said Obasanjo: “The Ebola issue in West Africa is a serious issue, so declared by WHO. The international response and assistance to West Africa must be matched by the seriousness of the outbreak. Lastly, there should be all pharmaceutical companies' hands on deck for research to produce effective drug against Ebola."
Most Secondary Contacts No Longer Threat to Public Health…
Meanwhile, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday said most of the EVD secondary contacts are no longer a threat to public health.
The Director General of the NCDC, Professor Abdulsalam Nasidi, made this disclosure during the presentation of five Ford Hilux Sports Utility Vans to the Infectious Disease Centre at the Central Public Health Laboratory, by Total Nigeria PLC.
He said some of the secondary contacts who have been certified are already leaving the hospital, after it was discovered they are no longer a threat to others.
"This is a project (Ebola response) that we will use to strengthen our health system. We have established the NCDC and it's coordinating for emergency response.
"So, this emergency preparedness is working under the NCDC. It's not something that will die off because it will continue in case there are other outbreaks. As of now, we are able to monitor every contact or case. We will do the same with other diseases,” he said.
On the efficacy of the preparedness of the team on ground he said, "We are proud of our youths and the incidence manager. We have empowered the team and partners to ensure that the disease is contained.
"As of yesterday, most of the contacts are leaving and exiting the hospital. So, they are no longer threats to public health. Most of them were secondary contacts and they will be soon be out.
"The donation by Total PLC will fuel and increase our capacity to trace the disease contacts. Before, we were short of vehicles and sometimes, we were using private vehicles and hiring taxi cabs, which was not good. But now, mobility has been improved."
With the discovery of the disease, Nasidi said every state would have its own Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to check the spread of the disease.
Total Managing Director, Mr. Alexis Vovk, had alongside the Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Mabuyaku Albert, presented the vehicles to aid mobility for the centre.
Deaths (Including index case) 5
Under care 4
Under surveillance 187