59 people who had contacts with Liberian Victim of Ebola identified

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REPORT has it that, no fewer than 59 people who had contacts with Mr Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who died of Ebola Virus in Lagos State,
the state government has said.

Dr Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Health, said at a news conference in Ikeja that the contact tracing became imperative to ascertain any
possible transmission of the virus by the victim.
Idris said the identified contacts comprised 44 hospital and
15 airport contacts, including the Nigerian Ambassador to
Liberia.

He said 20 of the contacts had been screened and that none of
them had so far been found to be infected with the virus.
The commissioner, however, said the contacts did not include
those he might have been with on his flight to Nigeria on July
20, as the airline had yet to release the passenger manifest for
investigation.

“The airline manifest has not been provided by the airline as 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).”

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The commissioner urged Nigerians not to entertain fears about
Sawyer’s case as the state and Federal Governments were
doing everything possible to prevent any risk to the country.

Idris said that the deceased’s body had been decontaminated,
using 10 percent 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 containing the remains have also been
decontaminated while the hospital in which he died on July 25
has been demobilised.”

Idris said that The state Ministry of Health had designated an
isolation ward at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, for
case management, adding three other centres were under
way.

The commissioner urged residents to report people with
abnormal cases of bleeding and fever to the appropriate
authorities for intervention, as high fever with bleeding from all
body openings were symptoms of the disease.

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Idris also urged residents to always keep their environments
clean and maintain good personal hygiene as Ebola virus
spreads easily in dirty environments.

Also speaking, Prof. Abdul-Salami Nasidi, the Director,
National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) warned against
the consumption of bats and monkeys as these animals had
been established to be the original sources of Ebola.

“This is time for those bat-eating and monkey-eating
communities to be careful now. Ebola started from the eating
of chimpazees. How the virus got to the monkey, nobody
knows yet.

“But this is the time to be careful about the eating of monkeys
and bats. The Ebola threat is high in West Africa and people
should start taking precautions.”

In a remark, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, the President of the
Nigerian Academy of Science, also warned Nigerians against
the unsupervised burial of people who died from suspected
Ebola case.

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He said 40 per cent of cases in high risk countries were
transmitted from victims’ bodies, stressing that an Ebola
corpse was deadlier the patient.

On her part, Mrs Yewande Adeshina, the Special Adviser to
the Governor on Public Health, urged traditional healers to
collaborate with the government in checking Ebola threats by
reporting suspicious cases for the right intervention. [NAN]