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Ebola hits Rivers'Doctor who treated ECOWAS diplomat dies, wife, 69 others quarantined 'Virus may infect 20,000 people 'WHO

Published by Tribune on Fri, 29 Aug 2014

THE Federal Government, on Thursday, confirmed fresh case of Ebola virus disease outbreak in Rivers State.This followed the death of a medical doctor, Dr Iyke Sam Enemuo, last week Friday.The deceased doctor was reported to have treated a primary contact of the late Mr Patrick Sawyer, who evaded the surveillance team in July, by travelling out of Lagos to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.Giving the details of the incident on Thursday, the Rivers State Ministry of Health said it had placed the wife of the deceased doctor, along with about 69 others, under 24-hour surveillance.As part of the measures to check further spread of the disease, the state government also shut down the hospital owned by the late Enemuo, as well as the Good Heart Hospital, a private health facility where he was treated before he died.Also shut down by the state government was an hotel, where a member of staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who met with the late medical doctor, lodged while he was in Port Harcourt.Briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, on Thursday, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker, said Enemuo died in Port Harcourt last week Friday.He said the result of the samples taken from the late medical doctor and which was released on Thursday morning, indicated that he died of Ebola, adding that members of staff of the two hospitals and the hotel, as well as Enemuo's wife, had been quarantined.The commissioner said the deceased's wife, who is also a medical doctor, had already shown sign of fever and had been taken in for treatment.While he did not disclose the name of the hotel where the late medical doctor met with the ECOWAS staff, Parker, however, said the diplomat seen with the late Enemuo, was alive and well.'It is with a heavy heart that I announce to you that the Ebola virus has claimed its first victim in Rivers State. Dr Iyke Sam Enemuo died last week Friday, August 22.'As of today, about 100 contacts from a hotel, patients of Dr Enemuo and patients of the hospital where the late Enemuo was treated until his demise have been identified and restricted in Rivers State.'The locations are being decontaminated. I had promised to be open and candid with the public on our efforts to tackle the Ebola virus. From our investigations, some facts have emerged.'A staff of ECOWAS on the team that received the late Dr Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American diplomat who died of Ebola haemorrhagic disease in Lagos, Nigeria, made a trip to Port Harcourt, where he checked into a hotel and met with Dr Enemuo.'About a week after his (the ECOWAS staff) departure, Dr Enemuo took ill and was rushed to a hospital where he presented with symptoms of fever, diarrhea and vomiting. In the course of treatment, the managing physician became suspicious and took samples for investigation.'A few days after, Dr Enemuo died on August 22. His body was deposited at a mortuary in Port Harcourt. Dr Enemuo's widow, who is also a medical doctor and who cared for him during his illness, has taken ill. She is being quarantined,' he said.Urging the people of the state to remain calm and go about their normal businesses, the commissioner admonished them to wash their hands regularly with soap and water and avoid unnecessary body contact till further notice.Corroborating the story, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, while briefing newsmen on the update of the virus in the country, in Abuja, confirmed that the late doctor's wife had also been placed on quarantine.He said laboratory analysis carried out showed that the doctor died from Ebola contacted from the primary contact of Sawyer, adding that so far, several contacts had been traced and placed under surveillance.Professor Chukwu said the country had only managed to contain the spread of the virus, stressing that it had not been totally eliminated.According to him, six persons were quarantined in Enugu; Port Harcourt, 69, with only one person showing symptoms, while Lagos had 141.In his remarks, Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, urged Nigerians to strictly adhere to rules given by the government regarding the virus.Meanwhile, Rivers State government has rolled out emergency telephone numbers which should be contacted by any individual or group on detecting anyone with symptoms relating to the virus.The state governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, in a special broadcast on Thursday afternoon, said anyone with symptoms indicative of diarrhea, high fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, among others, should call 08167733939, 07036321076, 08033124314 or state emergency call centre, 112.
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