Liberian suspected of having Ebola virus hospitalised in Lagos

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A Liberian who is suspected of having the Ebola Virus Disease has been hospitalised in Lagos.

Ebola virus
Ebola virus

However, contrary to the news making the rounds on the social media, the case has not been confirmed.

And contrary to the news that the man is dead, he is still alive and being treated.

He is said to be responding to treatment, a development that could indicate that the symptoms of his illness were only EVD related.

Owing to this development, the Lagos State Government has called on residents of the state to remain calm and take appropriate measures to prevent and control an outbreak of the disease in the state.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, who made the appeal on Thursday during a briefing with news men in her office, explained that an outbreak of the disease, which is caused by the Ebola virus, has been recorded in some neighbouring West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Adeshina said: “You will recall that three months ago, your attention was drawn to the outbreak of a deadly disease known as Ebola Virus Disease in some of the neighbouring West African countries.

“Current update from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone shows alarming increase in the number of cases and deaths due to this disease.”

On the suspected case of EVD in Lagos, Adeshina noted that the Lagos State Ministry of Health received information from a private facility in the state concerning a suspected case on July 22, 2014.

According to her, details of the suspected case were obtained from the health facility and the suspect, a 40-year-old Liberian working for a West African organization in Monrovia, who arrived Lagos on a flight from Monrovia via Lome on July 20, 2014 at 4pm, had no contact with any case of EVD.

She said: “History taken revealed that he had no contact with any case of EVD, did not visit any person with EVD in the hospital and neither did he partake in the burial of any person who died of EVD.

“However, on account of his working and living in an endemic region for EVD like Liberia and the presentation of non-specific constitutional symptoms and signs of fever, malaise, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, etc associated with EVD, a high index of suspicion was raised.

The Special Adviser explained further that based on the high index of suspicion raised, the patient was admitted and detained on suspicion for possible Ebola virus disease infection, stressing that blood sample collection and testing was initiated.

This included samples to the Virology Reference Laboratory, LUTH, Idi-Araba and WHO Reference Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, which she stressed is actively in process.

Adeshina added: “Presently, the patient’s condition is stable and is in recovery.

“The diarrhea and vomiting has stopped.

“Intravenous infusion has also been stopped and he is now tolerating by mouth, while the health facility has since initiated Universal Safety Precautionary measures to prevent spread of the disease and guaranteed the safety of other patients.

“Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Health, including Port Health Services, are partners with the State Government in areas of contact tracing and other specialized care.”

Adeshina stressed the need for residents of the state to remain calm and take appropriate measures for the prevention and control of the disease, noting that Ebola Virus Disease is caused by the Ebola virus, which outbreaks occur primarily in villages of the Central and West Africa.

The Special Adviser explained that EVD is caused by a virus which natural reservoir of virus is not completely known, stressing that fruit bats have been considered to be the natural host of the virus.

She said: “The virus can be spread through close contact with the blood, body fluids, organ and tissues of infected animals, direct contact with blood, organ or body secretions of an infected person.

“The transmission of the virus by other animals like monkey and chimpanzee cannot be ruled out.”

Adeshina noted that those at the highest risk of the disease include health-workers and families or friends of an infected person who could be infected in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them.

She stressed that EVD should be suspected in persons who develop bleeding from the body openings like the mouth, nose, rectum and ear; a close contact of person who is infected; or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed infected person.

She said: “Early symptoms of disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.

“Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood.

“It could progress to coma, shock and death.”

The Special Adviser on Public Health noted that presently there is no specific treatment for EVD, stressing that infected persons will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialized care and treated in isolation in line with international standards.
She urged residents of the state to reduce risk of infection by observing high standard of personal and environmental hygiene by washing their hands often with soap and water; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and ensuring that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed.

While noting that all fluids from an infected person are extremely dangerous, Adeshina advised health workers to be at alert, wear personal protective equipment; observe universal basic precautions when attending to suspected or confirmed cases; and report same to their local government areas or the Ministry of Health immediately; or call the following numbers: 08023169485; 08033086660; 08033065303; 08055281442; 08055329229.

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