Ebola: Nigeria quarantines 2, place 69 under medical surveillance

Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu said the ministry has quarantined two people who had “primary contact” with a man who died of Ebola in Lagos last week as west Africa battled to tame the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus.

Chukwu said “staff or persons who took care of him before the diagnosis” were in quarantine and 69 have been placed under medical surveillance.

Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year old Liberian, died under quarantine in a private hospital in Lagos on Friday, sparking fears the deadly virus could spread to Africa’s most populous nation.

“We are tracking all those with primary contact with a view to deciding those who must be quarantined and those who will just remain under surveillance,” Chukwu said.

“As at today 69 are under surveillance and two quarantined,” he told reporters in Abuja, adding that “they will remain under the surveillance until a period of three weeks at least”.

West Africa’s Ebola-hit nations on Thursday imposed stringent new rules and agreed to launch a $100 million response plan to stop the spread of Ebola, which has so far killed nearly 730 people in the region.

Sierra Leone joined Liberia in launching far-reaching measures to contain the virus, including quarantining Ebola-striken areas and cancelling foreign trips by ministers.

Chukwu said that Nigeria has not closed its borders yet, but will apply the measure if “it becomes necessary”.

The Lagos hospital where the Ebola victim died said Thursday in a statement that the health institution has been temporarily shut down while the body had been burt according to WHO guidelines.

“In keeping with WHO guidelines, the hospital is shut down briefly as full decontamination exercise is currently in progress,” it said.

Spread by close contact with an infected person through bodily fluids such as sweat, blood and tissue, Ebola can fell victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea — and in some cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.


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