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Ebola Virus: Lagos, FG Urge The Citizens Not To Panic

The Lagos State Government on Monday called on all Nigerians to be calm and not panic, assuring them that both the State and Federal Governments are well prepared to ensure that the Ebola Virus Disease did not spread and that no Nigerian is infected with the virus.

Addressing a joint Ministerial Press briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Health on development concerning the disease, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris affirmed that there has only been one case of imported Ebola resulting in the death of a Liberian diplomat in Lagos.

He added that health authorities were being very pro active about the detection of the Ebola Virus in the Liberian who was on his way to Calabar for a conference by ensuring that all contacts are being actively followed.

Dr Idris said part of the measures taken after the death of the Liberian was the demobilization of the private hospital where he was admitted and elimination of primary source of infection, adding that the decontamination process in all affected areas has commenced.

He added that the corpse of the victim has since been cremated, and the ash is awaiting further directives from the Liberian Embassy and commended the role of the Management of the hospital and their ability to detect a high-risk  patient within 24-hrs.

“Adhering strictly to WHO guidelines, the body of the deceased patient was decontaminated using 10% 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," he added.

In terms of contacts tracing, Dr Idris informed that so far a total of 59 contacts was registered consisting of 44 hospital contacts (38 healthcare workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 Airport contacts comprising 3 ECOWAS staff-driver, Liaison, and Protocol officers, Nigerian Ambassador to Monrovia, two nursing staff and five Airport passenger handlers.

He explained that out of the number, 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50percent are of the type one contact and another 50percent had type two contacts, adding that the airline manifest has not been provided yet.

The Airline manifest has not been provided by the airline 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). There was no report of a medical incident filed.

Dr Idris added that an isolation ward was designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management while the designation of three other health facilities is underway.

A total of 100 PPEs was procured by the NCDC/FMOH and distributed to the private hospital and the State Ministry of health. WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the NCDC/FMOH.

The Commissioner also said a call-in team was established for the public to dial in and obtain information on the Ebola Virus Disease while Toll-free lines were obtained from a telecommunication service provider to be used for answering questions, creating awareness, and receiving notifications of any suspected case just as public awareness creation through social media such as Twitter and Facebook's accounts was also activated.

He stressed that in recognizing of the importance of involving the community early in the response, traditional and religious leaders were alerted about the disease and requested to report promptly to health-care workers.

The  Special Adviser on Health, Dr (Mrs.) Yewande Adeshina also appealed to operators of traditional health care centres to be wary of patients with fever symptoms who show signs of extreme weakness and diarrhea and immediately alert health authorities about such patients.
The President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori who was also at the briefing said all the contact persons are being screened on a continuous basis to look for any possible signs of the disease.

He commended the timely action taken by the Lagos State Government and the private hospital adding that there is absolutely no need for people to panic as the golden rule is to observe the personal hygiene of always washing the hands regularly with soap.

The briefing was attended by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Raji and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Modele Osunkiyesi, Permanent Secretary, Health Services Commission, Dr Hamid Balogun and Permanent Secretary Primary Health Care Board, Dr Kayode Oguntimehin.

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