Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, who spoke in Abuja yesterday during the 2nd Emergency National Council on Health Meeting on the outbreak of EVD in the country, said the last may not have been heard about the EVD outbreak as contacts currently under surveillance may come down with the disease.
“It is expected that a few more contacts will develop the EVD, especially in Rivers State before Nigeria will see the last case of EVD. While it is encouraging that so far, all confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria have their roots in the index case, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, great vigilance is required particularly at our ports of entry to ensure we do not have cases of EVD from other sources other than Mr. Sawyer,” he remarked.
Chukwu, who explained that the Federal Ministry of Health is awaiting report of a repeat test being conducted on two health officials of the hospital where the first Port Harcourt case, Dr. Ikechukwu Sam Enemuo, died of EVD after successfully treating the ECOWAS official who imported the virus into the state, however noted that the Incident Management Committee had deployed a strong team to Rivers State to work with the state government so that the situation can be effectively managed.
On the ECOWAS Commission staff, Chukwu said: “He died from EVD. It was his death that led to the investigation that revealed introduction of EVD to Port Harcourt and the beginning of tracing of second and third degree contacts in Port Harcourt.
Arrangements are being made to decontaminate the body in readiness for proper disposal of his remains. His death brings to six the total number of persons who have died from EVD in Nigeria.”
Giving an update on the current status of the EVD outbreak, in the country, the minister said: “The total number of confirmed EVD cases in Nigeria is 17 (including the index case). In Lagos, the total number managed is 14, seven successfully managed and discharged; five deaths recorded and two presently on treatment in isolation.
“In Port Harcourt one death, a doctor who treated a secondary contact of Sawyer’s, has been recorded (did not benefit from standard management); one patient under treatment (no standard treatment) and patient fully recovered.
“Total number of survivors in Nigeria (as of September 1, 2014) is 11; total number of deaths in Nigeria (as of September 1, 2014) is six.
“A surviving primary contact of the index case (Patrick Sawyer): an ECOWAS Commission staff that became symptomatic, evaded surveillance in Lagos, travelled to Port Harcourt and infected his attending physician. Presently, he does not have viraemia but other laboratory tests for antibodies confirm that he had suffered from EVD. He is under quarantine in Lagos at the moment undergoing further tests to ensure he is totally free from the virus.”
Further, he stated; “A female patient who was on admission in the same hospital where the late Port Harcourt Doctor was also admitted. She is presently under treatment in the Isolation ward in Rivers State.
“Two other contacts of the late Port Harcourt doctor (one of the doctors who managed him and a pharmacy technician working in the late doctor’s hospital) are symptomatic and have been admitted in the isolation ward in Rivers State. They have tested negative to the EVD but the laboratory tests will be repeated to reconfirm their status,” Chukwu said.