Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Ebola: Lagos Traces Persons Who Made Contact With Infected Doctor

The Lagos State Government has
started compiling a comprehensive list
of all persons who may have had
contact with the female doctor infected
with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The doctor contracted the disease from
the Liberian national, Mr. Patrick
Sawyer, when she battled to save his
life at the First Consultants Medical
Centre, a Lagos-based hospital, before
his death two weeks ago.
The state government has also affirmed
that the doctor afflicted with the virus is
still alive, insisting that the mode of
transmission of the disease is through
direct contact with broken skin,
contaminated materials, secretions and
the consumption of certain animals,
locally termed "bush meat."
This is just as panic over the spread of
the virus has continued to grow
nationwide, which was worsened by the
fact that there was no official statement
on the laboratory results of seven other
persons who had been quarantined
alongside the female doctor, after they
had had contact with the Liberian who
died at First Consultants.
However, THISDAY learnt that two of the
nurses from First Consultants who were
quarantined with the others, were
already exhibiting signs of the Ebola
virus, raising fears among authorities of
its spread to others they may have
come in contact with.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday
in Lagos, the state Commissioner for
Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said the contact
tracing was part of measures to contain
the spread of the dreaded virus.
Idris, who addressed the conference
alongside his Special Duties counterpart,
Dr. Wale Ahmed, urged members of the
public to be vigilant and careful in
relating with people who are facing
health challenges.
He explained that contact tracing "is
essential and very important to stop the
spread of the deadly virus. In the case
of the newly infected person, we have
contacted her family and have opened
a comprehensive list of both primary
and secondary contacts of the infected
"There is no panic as long as basic
precautionary measures such as hand
washing, adoption of appropriate waste
management and enhanced personal/
environmental hygiene are adhered to.
This is a call for everyone to be vigilant,
especially with regard to relating with
people who are ill."
The commissioner appealed to health
workers to reconsider their decision to
continue with the ongoing strike, saying
it would be more difficult "to control the
spread of the disease if indigenous
health workers shy away from helping
suspected and infected cases".
He expressed appreciation for the role
health workers had played in "the
course of contact tracing, case
management and decontamination. The
challenge is a clarion call for all
volunteer health workers including
doctors, nurses, environmental health
workers and Phlebotomists to
complement our workforce.
"I appeal to striking doctors and other
health workers to sheathe their swords
and embrace team work. We also count
on the cooperation of the good people
of the state, which the federal
government may need in the course of
taking decisions in the overriding
interest of the public".
He said the dreaded virus could only be
transmitted through direct contact with
the body fluids of an infected person,
adding that until an infected person
"becomes seriously sick with the virus,
the carrier is not infectious".
"We need to again highlight the mode
of transmission of the virus. Once a
person is infected, the virus is
transmissible through direct contact with
broken skin, mucous membrane and
secretions of an infected person or
through direct contact with materials
and surfaces that have been
contaminated by the infected person.
"This is a call for vigilance as human-to-
human transmission is only achieved by
physical contact with a person who is
acutely and gravely ill from the Ebola
virus through body fluids such as urine,
stool, saliva, breast milk and semen,"
he stressed.
The commissioner added that in Africa,
infection had also occurred through the
handling of infected chimpanzees,
monkeys, guerillas, fruit bats, antelopes
and porcupines, noting that there had
been no case of transmission by
domestic animals such as pigs.
Idris also confirmed that the female
medical doctor who attended to the
index case of Ebola at First Consultants
was the only confirmed case to date out
of the eight primary contacts under
clinical surveillance and care.
"Her being infected is largely due to the
fact that she was a primary contact
when the index case presented. At that
point in time, the disease was not
known to have been imported into the
country," Idris said.
He explained that relevant digital
platforms had been set up for ease of
reference, information and
communication flow and that the
platforms include Help line: 0800
EBOLA HELP (0800326524357);
Website: www.ebolaalert.org;
Facebook: fb.com/ebolaalert; and
Twitter: @ebolaalert.

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

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