Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ebola Spreads In Nigeria - New Suspected Cases Reported In Abuja, Kaduna and Lagos

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A patient suspected to have been infected with the deadly Ebola virus has died at the Asokoro Hospital Abuja. Another died at LUTH Lagos while a student of ABU Zaria is sick and suspected to be infected with the deadly virus.

The suspected patient in Abuja exhibited symptoms similar to those of persons infected with the virus, and died at the hospital last Friday. Following the death of the patient, a statement was released by the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, signed by the secretariat’s head of public relations, Badaru Yakassai.

The secretariat advised residents of Abuja not to panic as a case of Ebola has not been confirmed at the hospital, adding that the measures that have been put in place are only precautionary in the interest of public safety. The statement reads in part;

“The Family Medicine unit of Asokoro District Hospital suspected Ebola disease in a patient on admission at the Accident and Emergency unit on the 28th of August 2014 and immediately isolated the patient. Strict infection control measures were immediately instituted. Blood sample was then taken to the designated FCT Ebola testing laboratory which happens to be within the hospital premises. The epidemiology unit of Public Health Department of the Health and Human Services Secretariat was notified and their response was immediate. The results of the Ebola test was being expected from the laboratory four days later, on Monday the 1st of September 2014.

The case also served as a drill case to test the preparedness of the hospital to manage and contain the Ebola disease. Clinical assessment however did not reveal any history of contact or travel. However in view of the high index of suspicion, isolation and strict infection control measures were continued and the unit was condoned off. Unfortunately, the patient died the next day, Friday 29th August 2014. The accident and emergency unit was temporarily relocated to the General Outpatient Unit (GOPD). A list of all medical staff who had come into contact with the patient has been compiled and they are all under surveillance.”

In Zaria, a 19- year old student of Law at the Ahmadu Bello University is suspected to be the index case of the deadly Ebola virus in Kaduna.

According to PremiumTimes, the Public Relations Officer, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH, Bilyaminu Umar, when contacted via phone said the student was diagnosed at ABUTH, Shika, Zaria, and that he showed some symptoms associated the the disease.

“Yes, there was a case of a suspected Ebola patient. He is with the Faculty of Law, ABU, Zaria and will be placed on isolation.”

However, experts have said not all patients who manifest some symptoms of the virus end up testing positive to the disease. Although the ABUTH spokesperson confirmed the development, only the Federal Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Kaduna state government, can authoritatively confirm if the case is indeed that of Ebola.

Meanwhile, the death of a patient, who is suspected to have Ebola, caused panic among patients and doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi- Araba, Lagos State.

The patient was brought in by members of the health authorities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, to the hospital on Monday. According to the doctor who was on duty when the patient was admitted into the Accident and Emergency Unit...

"They rushed him to the Accident and Emergency Unit, and since he was vomiting and purging and he also had high fever, we quickly took his temperature, it was very high. We were all scared to take his blood samples because we were not wearing any Protective Protective Equipment.

“We had to take him out of the emergency ward to the other spill-over ward to avoid any form of contamination. We also reported to the Lagos State Government so that they can take him to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba for proper treatment. But he had startedvomiting blood by this morning , and few hours after he died.”Like I said, we could not take any blood sample when he was alive because we were not wearing PPE, and we could not manage him effectively because of the severity of the symptoms we saw and considering the fact that he was coming from the airport. He could have been coming from an Ebola-affected country.

“They will need to establish the cause of death, so as to be able to know whether to quarantine those that he had contact with from the airport to the hospital. LUTH does not have the facilities to handle any suspected case of Ebola, government should know that, so they don’t keep bringing suspected cases here. All suspected cases should be taken to IDH.”

When contacted, the LUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Akin Oshibogun, said the death of the patient is still being investigated. Oshibogun said..

“We have been able to establish that this patient has no history of Ebola or any contact with a person that had Ebola. We are only trying to investigate the patient. If there is any new thing, we will let you know. As long as we are in the hospital, from time to time, we will always have high index suspicion and most times these patients turn out to be negative.

“There is a difference between suspected or confirmed cases . We are only investigating the case to protect our people. We have had that situation two times in the hospital now. If we have a case we will announce it. In the case of this patient, for the fact that a patient has high index suspicion does not make the patient an Ebola patient. When you create panic many nurses may decide to abandon the patients.”

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