The body of Mr. Patrick Sawyer, the first victim of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, who died in Lagos on Friday, has been cremated. It was gathered that the eveny was witnessed by officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, led by its Project Director, Professor Abdulsalam Nasidi, among others.
The decision to cremate the body of the victim, it was further
gathered, may not be unconnected with the deadly nature of the
Ebola Virus which is known to be easily transmissible from human
to human during handling of corpses of victims.
The World Health Organisation recommends that in communities
where there is an outbreak of Ebola, appropriate containment
measures including burial of the dead should be properly handled.
While stating that people who die from Ebola should be promptly
and safely buried, WHO? notes that cremation, which is the
application of high temperature to reduce bodies to basic chemical
components (ashes),? is ideal for safe disposal of bodies of
persons who die during outbreaks of highly infectious diseases
such as Ebola Virus in order to minimise further transmission.
In 2013 the Lagos State Government introduced its Voluntary
Cremation Law under which a person may signify interest to be
cremated at death or a deceased’s family members who must
attain the age of 18 years, can decide to have the corpse
Under the law the state government can also cremate unclaimed
corpses in its mortuaries after a period of time and the ashes
disposed after a 14-day notice with approval of the
Commissioner for Health.