Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, on Monday said 59 people in the state came in contact with the 40-year-old Liberian who died of Ebola virus in Lagos.
Idris, who made this known in Ikeja, explained that the number consisted of 44 health care workers and 15 others at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
“So far, 59 contacts have been registered, consisting 44 hospital contacts (38 health care workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 airport contacts. The 15 airport contacts comprise three ECOWAS staff-driver, Liaison, and Protocol Officer, Nigerian Ambassador to Monrovia, two nursing staff and five airport passenger handlers.
“As of the time of this report, 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50 per cent had type one contact and 50 per cent had had type two contact.
“Airline manifest has not been provided by the airline and therefore the precise number of passenger contacts has yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos). There was no report of medical incident and the General Declaration report of the flight,” he stated.
The commissioner assured that nobody in the country had been infected with the virus, as he advised Nigerians not to panic.
“We can categorically state that as of today, we have only one case of imported Ebola and death. No Nigerian is infected, but all contacts are being actively followed.
“We call on all Nigerians to be calm and not panic. We assure them that both the state and the Federal Government are up in arms to ensure that the virus did not escape and that no Nigeria is infected with this virus.
“The National Centre for Disease Control of the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation established an Incident Command Centre that coordinates the Rapid Response Team activities on the field. Five working groups were established, namely: (i) Contact tracing, Surveillance & Laboratory (ii) Health education/Social mobilisation (iii) Case management and infection prevention/control (iv) Logistics (v) Data management.
“An Emergency Operations centre was also activated at the conference room of Central Public Health Laboratory in Yaba, Lagos, which also serves as the secretariat. WHO provided technical support and action plan was developed. The Port Health Services of the FMOH, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Aviation has put in motion mechanisms to track down all contacts at high risk.
“An isolation ward has been designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management. The designation of three other health facilities is underway,” Idris said.
The commissioner, who said that the government was decontaminating the First Consultants Hospital in Obalende where the Liberian was taken to during his illness, added that his body was decontaminated and cremated.
“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 has been prepared for dispatch to the family. The vehicle that conveyed the remains was also fully decontaminated,” Idris said.
In the same vein, the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Health, Dr. Yewande Adesina, said Ebola illness initially gives symptom of malaria and difficulty in eating.
“After these, the patient could be vomiting and stooling as if he has diarrh0ea. Later, blood would be coming out from the eyes, ears, nose, anus and private parts.
“So if we are taking care of a patient that we believe has malaria, we should always wash our hands with water and soap. Once we recognise the symptom of Ebola illness, we should alert the team set up by the government and also monitor update through the media.
“Now, we advise that charms and prayers cannot stop the virus,” she said.