An elderly woman, who was one of the three persons taken for Ebola Virus quarantine in Oduoha, Emohua Local Government Area Of Rivers State has tested positive for the disease.
Punch reports that the three people who were taken for the EVD quarantine were a doctor and a pharmacist who tested negative while the elderly woman tested positive for the deadly disease. It was said that the elderly woman, contracted the virus in Good Heart Hospital, the health facility where Iyke Enemuo, the doctor who treated a Nigerian ECOWAS diplomat, Koye Olu-Ibukun, died last week. The elderly woman was said to have shared the same room with Enemuo when he was admitted at the Good Heart Hospital.
The doctor and a pharmacist who are members of staff of Sam Steel Clinic, a health facility founded by Enemuo have however been allowed to go home but they are still under serious medical surveillance. However, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, have made it known that Enemuo whose sister, Chinyere, was taken to the quarantine centre, will be buried next week. This was made known in Abuja and Port Harcourt yesterday at the opening of the 2nd National Council on Health meeting on the outbreak of the EVD in Nigeria.
The health minister also revealed that the Federal Government has indicated interest to participate in the clinical trials of two Japanese vaccines to combat the deadly virus rampaging the nation. He said the Federal government has also applied for other experimental drugs, including TKM-Ebola.
He further dispelled the rumour of an outbreak of the disease in the Federal Capital Territory, saying the person involved was a sickle cell patient. In his words: “The Treatment Research Group which I had informed you about, has been working hard to identify experimental drugs like Zmapp, and also make recommendations to government on further research on these drugs as well as vaccines for EVD treatment and isolation. “Following the TRG’s recommendations and in consultation with NAFDAC and NHREC, Nigeria has indicated interest to participate in the clinical trials for two candidate EVD vaccines and we are considering that a third may be added to the list. We have also applied for experimental drugs such as TKM-Ebola.
“The TRG has submitted a detailed profile and brief on the oral antiviral agent which the Japanese government has offered to make available to affected countries through the World Health Organisation. We are now considering the profile and brief to enable us to reach a final decision on making it available to our patients. “Our initial knowledge of the agent is that it has been shown to have strong antiviral activity against the influenza virus following phases I and II human trials, it is now going through phase III clinical trials; it is shown to have strong antiviral property against Ebola virus in vitro and in vivo. These and the fact that it is considered safe, having passed through phases I and II clinical trials, makes it good candidate drug for use in emergency situation as the EVD.”
The Health Minister made it known that the efforts of the Federal Government since the outbreak of the EVD has been laudable. Chukwu further explained that, as of August 31, 2014, the total number of cases of EVD in Nigeria stood at 17 while the total number of cases treated at the isolation ward in Lagos State is 14; While the total number of those discharged is seven, the total number of deaths among those treated in Lagos is five. The total of persons currently under treatment in Lagos is two.
Chukwu maintained that the three confirmed cases not treated in Lagos comprised Olu-Ibukun, Enemuo and the elderly woman in Port Harcourt, saying:
“Two others who came into contact with the late Enemuo have tested negative for the EVD but the laboratory tests will be repeated to reconfirm their status. “Now as of August 31, 2014, the number of contacts under surveillance in Lagos stood at 72 while in Port Harcourt, the total number of contacts under surveillance stood at 199. There is nobody under surveillance in Enugu presently and no case of EVD in Enugu State. “As of August 31, 2014, 278 contacts in Lagos State had completed the 21 days surveillance and had been discharged. While in Enugu, all the six identified contacts have completed the 21 day observation period and have been discharged from surveillance. No contact in Port Harcourt has completed the 21 day observation period.”
The commissioner, further told newsmen yesterday that Chinyere, the sister to the late Enemuo, who initially fled to Abia had returned to Port Harcourt and had been taken to the Isolation centre in Emohua.
“I told you yesterday(Sunday) that we had three patients, and out of the three, the result came out; two of them were negative while one was positive. The two negative ones have left the centre.“We discharged them but we will repeat the tests because they are still within the 21 days circle of the virus. We pray that they remain negative. “The one who is positive is an elderly woman that was in the same hospital with the late Dr. Enemuo. In fact, they were in the same room. She is there ( the quarantine centre) now.”
About Chinyere, he said,
“She had earlier run to Abia State apparently because of fear of being stigmatised.“We were able to trace her with the help of my counterpart in Abia State. She developed feverish symptoms and she had been admitted at the isolation unit for observation and treatment. She is among the 50 high risk contacts on our list. We decided to take her to the isolation unit to make assurance surer.
“We are currently running a test on her and the result will be out by Tuesday(today) or thereabout. We chose to isolate her because we don’t want to go through the same experience we had with Olu-Ibukun.” “We have decided that within this week, Dr. Enemuo and other high risk corpses in the UPTH mortuary would be buried, according to the World Health Organisation protocols.
“That means that the corpses will not leave Port Harcourt . They will be buried under the supervision of the EOC, Ministry of Health officials, and officials of WHO so that we don’t expose the relatives to danger. “We will take care of all the safety protocols ourselves. The families will be there but we will not allow them touch the corpses. “The families can hold their parties if they choose to, but they will not be allowed to come close to the bodies. We will take maximum precaution to combat the spread of the virus.”
It would be recalled that after all the bad news that have been going round over the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West African countries, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, a piece of good news came recently, confirming that ZMapp cured lab monkeys that have been infected with the Ebola virus disease.
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