Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ebola: FG, LASG to Isolate 59 Persons Who Had Contact with Dead Victim.

Determined to contain the ease of the infection and the swiftness of containing those infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the Federal Government in conjunction with the Lagos State Government have identified some 59 persons who had physical contact with Mr. Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who died of the disease last Friday in Lagos.
The decision was premised on the concern that leaving them in the midst of the people could trigger an unfettered spread of the infection to hitherto uninfected persons.
At a press conference jointly addressed by officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Government yesterday, it was announced that 59 persons including the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie, had contact with the 40-year-old late Sawyer believed to have imported the EVD to Lagos.
Mere physical contact, especially when body fluids are involved, could mean being infected with the killer virus.
The state government acknowledged that the contacts were established with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) among others.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said this at a news conference at Alausa, alongside the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina; the Project Director of NCDC, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi; and the President of Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, among others. 
In his address monday, Idris disclosed that a total of 59 contacts “have so far been registered. The figure consists of 44 hospital contacts and 15 airport contacts”.
He gave the breakdown as follows: 38 healthcare workers, six laboratory staff members, three staff members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, two nursing staff members of Port Health and five airport passenger handlers.
The commissioner further disclosed that 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50 per cent had type 1 contact and 50 per cent had type 2 contact.
He however lamented that the manifest had not been provided by the airline, Asky Airline Flight, with Registration No KP50, adding that the precise number of passenger contacts “is yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos)”.
He noted that there was no report of any medical incident filed and the general declaration report of the flight was thereby making it difficult to get the details about the passengers of the aircraft.
He also reeled out the result of the preliminary laboratory investigation conducted on the Liberian national who died of the dreaded virus that had already killed no fewer than 660 persons in three West African states.
Already, many organisations and worship centres have begun educating their members on the symptoms and preventive tips of the deadly disease that has only 10 per cent chance of survival for those afflicted by it.
The fear associated with the disease, according to Nasidi, is enormous, supporting his assertion with the refusal of a courier firm to dispatch the blood sample of the Ebola victim to Dakar, Senegal.
He said the courier firm declined to dispatch Sawyer’s blood and urine samples, adding however that WHO has accepted the result.
“Yet, we are still going to send the sample to Dakar. Aside, we sent the samples to another laboratory in Lagos, which confirmed the early result,” Nasidi said.
Idris added that the investigation conducted by the NCDC AI virology laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and the World-Bank Funded African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at Redeemers’ University detected viral DNA.
According to him, both blood and urine samples obtained from the patient were positive for the Pan Filo Virus analysis and Ebola Zaire MGB virus strain-specific analysis. Samples were also collected for further confirmation at the WHO collaborating laboratory for Ebola in Dakar.
The commissioner hinted that an isolation ward “has been designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management”.
He added that the designation of three other health facilities “is underway.
A total of 100 personal protective equipment were procured by the federal government and distributed to the private hospital and the state government. The WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the federal government.
“Adhering strictly to WHO guidelines, the body of the deceased patient was decontaminated using 10 per cent 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 that conveyed the remains was also fully decontaminated.”
The First Consultant Medical Centre, where the patient died last Friday, has also been temporarily shut down, in accordance with the WHO guidelines on treatment of the disease.
Idris said the team recommended the need “to provide adequate personal protective equipment; organise psychosocial support; provide incentives to health personnel involved in Ebola outbreak response; design key messages in the local language and intensify public enlightenment in the local languages; and involve the community in response activities”.
According to him, the Liberian national (Sawyer) “arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Monrovia via Lome on Asky Airline Flight No KP50 on his way to Calabar for the 8th ECOWAS Retreat of Heads of Offices meeting, as a senior ECOWAS official in Liberia.
“His plane was reported to have had a brief stop at Accra and Lome, and the aircraft was changed at Lome. He was also reported to have fallen ill while on board and remained very ill on arrival at the airport in Lagos on the flight.
“He was then assisted by various airport and ECOWAS protocol staff members to a private hospital named First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos. An initial diagnosis of suspected Viral Haemorrhagic fever was made.
“He was admitted and investigations were carried out and supportive treatment was commenced. The private hospital immediately notified the Lagos State Ministry of Health, which also notified the Federal Ministry of Health. The patient however died at about 6.50am on July 25.”
Liberian Envoy Urges Regional Collaboration against Disease

Worried by the deadliness of the virus, the Ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, has called on all countries in the West African sub-region to collaborate to combat the spread of the Ebola virus as it poses a major threat.

The envoy spoke in the wake of the announcement by Arik Air of the suspension of all its flights to Monrovia (Liberia) and Freetown (Sierra Leone), with immediate effect.
Speaking with THISDAY in a telephone conversation, Ambassador Conteh said Liberia had already instituted internationally acceptable protocols to combat the deadly Ebola virus.
Some of the protocols include the closure of all its borders except major entry points.
At the entry points which remain open, preventive and testing centres are being established to inspect and screen all outgoing and incoming passengers as part of a new travel policy of the Liberia Airport Authority.
“It is not like Liberia is exporting something to Nigeria, people should not be afraid to come to Monrovia, we have put all the necessary checks in place,” Conteh said.
The envoy added that any threat to any country in the region poses a threat to the whole sub-region which has to come together to quickly checkmate such threat.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Centre for Disease Control to put adequate measures in place to screen all travellers coming into the country.
Earlier yesterday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf following her announcement of the establishment of a Special Task Force on the deadly virus said the virus was a national health problem.
“And as we have also begun to see, it attacks our way of life, with serious economic and social consequences.  As such, we are compelled to bring the totality of our national resolve to fight this scourge,” she said in a special statement.
She also announced restrictions on public gatherings such as solidarity marches, demonstrations and promotional advertisements.
“Government vehicles will be commandeered, as appropriate, to provide needed logistics support to the health delivery system. All government facilities and public places are to install and provide public access for washing of hands and other sanitisation services,” she added.
President Sirleaf directed that all communities seriously affected by the virus be quarantined with movements restricted in and out, while the security forces are to assist in enforcing these instituted regulations.

FAAN Reassures Passengers

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma, yesterday assured air travellers and residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of their safety.
Speaking with THISDAY on telephone, Dunoma stated that even though the Federal Ministry of Health had set up a screening and monitoring centre at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, three weeks ago, it has not relented in the close monitoring of the movement of passengers in and out of the airport, all in a bid to ensure their safety.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, in a recent interview with THISDAY, while soliciting for the dissemination of awareness about the disease, had said he had been in talks with WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, the Regional Director and WHO Country Representative in the country in an effort to control the crisis.
Dunoma said: “FAAN is also at alert to help complement what the ministry is doing in ensuring that no Ebola-infested person escapes into the city through the airport.
“On our own, we are working round the clock, to ensure that no infested person walks into the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the disease.”
Despite the assurance, THISDAY observed a low-passenger turnout at the airport. It was not certain if the Ebola virus scare or the Muslim festive season was responsible for the poor passenger turnout in Abuja.
Confirming the paucity of passengers, a competent source at FAAN in Abuja said security concerns and the festive season of the Muslim faithful have combined to keep passengers at ebb at the airport.
He reassured passengers that FAAN was very concerned about their safety in all the nation’s airports.
“We are constantly reviewing our security strategies to make sure that there is safety at the airport.
“Our security checks are in place. This is not something that I can disclose to you or to the generally public,” the source affirmed.

No comments:

Post a Comment