The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday announced that a total of 339 contacts who were previously under surveillance for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have been discharged having completed 21 days of observation.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja, he also disclosed that the sister of the doctor who died in Port Harcourt has been discharged from isolation ward in the State.
It will be recalled that exactly 50 days ago, a Liberian-America, Patrick Sawyer, imported the virus into Lagos, Nigeria and died on July 25.
Prof Chukwu, noted that all the cases that have been confirmed in Nigeria are traceable to the index case, Mr. Sawyer.
According to the Minister, so far, the total number of confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria is nineteen (19), fifteen (15) in Lagos, four (4) in Port Harcourt.
“The 19th case is the fiancé of one of the primary contacts of Mr. Sawyer’s who died of the disease. The test results were equivocal but further tests established the disease.
“He had only mild symptoms and he has since recovered from the illness. He was quarantined but because of the equivocal test result he was not placed on active treatment.
“The total number of deaths from EVD in Nigeria stands at seven (7). Five (5) of this died in Lagos, one (1) in a private hospital, the index case Mr. Sawyer, and the other four (4) in the isolation ward in Lagos State.
“Two of the seven (7) died in Port Harcourt, the medical doctor who died in a private hospital and the contact, a patient in the hospital at the time the doctor was also on admission, who died in the isolation ward in Rivers State.
“The total number of patients who have been successfully managed and discharged stands at nine (9). The latest is the sister of the Port Harcourt doctor who was discharged from the isolation ward in Rivers State yesterday. (It should be noted that the nine (9) patients successfully managed and discharged are among the total number of eleven (11) survivors of EVD in Nigeria).
“At the moment only one person, the wife of the Port Harcourt doctor is on treatment in the isolation ward in Lagos. She no longer has any symptoms and is undergoing series of tests preparatory to her discharge from the isolation ward this week.
“Regarding contacts currently under surveillance, Lagos has 27 contacts surveillance as of now. A total of 339 contacts who were previously on surveillance have been discharged having completed 21 days of observation.
“Port Harcourt has 477 contacts under surveillance. It is a mixed group consisting of tertiary and quaternary contacts of Mr. Sawyer’s. Five (5) contacts have already been discharged from surveillance in Port Harcourt having completed 21 days of observation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister has dismissed all the EVDs rumors in the last one week as they have all turned out to be negative.
He said, “Specifically, the rumours in Kebbi, Kaduna, Lagos, Lagos, Oyo, Ebonyi, Delta and Sokoto States as well as the Federal Capital Territory have all been debunked”.
The Minister once again, commended the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the Port Health Services, the Rivers State Government, WHO, UNICEF, US-CDC and MSF (Doctors Without Borders) for the high standard of work being carried out in Rivers State.
He said, ‘We have continued to receive support from the private sector and during my visit to Port Harcourt, I was informed of the donations of utility vehicles and ambulances made by Shell Petroleum and Total Plc respectively.
“Let me use this opportunity to clarify that the United States made the pledge of 30 body scanners in error. What eventually the US donated were 30 handheld infra-red thermometers which have been put to service.
“We continue to appeal to countries and individuals not to profile or stigmatize anyone on account of EVD. In particular, we have observed that some countries have continued to selectively quarantine Nigerian travellers without any health or scientific basis.
“For the record, let me say clearly that while any individual from any country of the world could be a carrier of the EVD and transmit same to others, no single Nigerian as of now has introduced EVD to any country. Nigeria shall continue to support protocols approved by the WHO which do not support the closure of borders, do not restrict travel, and do not stigmatize anyone on the basis of the passport that one carries.
“The Federal Government shall continue to remain vigilant and strengthen screening at our ports of entry and exit. As long as there is a single case of EVD anywhere in the world, every nation, every individual remains at risk and Nigeria and Nigerians are not exempt”.