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Monday, August 4, 2014
Nigeria Confirms Second Ebola Virus Case
Doctor Tests Positive for Virus After Treating Victim
Nigerian health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Monday. Associated Press
Nigerian health authorities said they had confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous nation and quarantined eight additional people, all of whom helped treat a Liberian-American who died of the disease in Lagos in July.
Nigerian health authorities confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous nation and quarantined eight additional people. Dr. William Karesh discusses the outbreak on the News Hub with Sara Murray. Photo: Getty Images.
"One of the doctors who attended to the American-Liberian victim has tested positive for Ebola virus," Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told reporters on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria's capital. "He is being treated at an isolated facility."
Mr. Chukwu said eight more health workers have been quarantined and that 62 other people who came into contact with the deceased Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, are being monitored for signs of illness.
Nigeria's second case shows one of the biggest challenges facing health workers in West Africa: patients in denial that they have Ebola.
Mr. Sawyer, a consultant at the Liberian Finance Ministry, had recently seen his sister die from Ebola and was exhibiting the virus's hallmark symptoms by the time he arrived in Lagos from Monrovia on July 20, said Jide Idris, Lagos State's health commissioner. The consultant told hospital workers he thought he was suffering from malaria for two days, during which time they didn't take the precautions such as wearing protective suits that are typically prescribed to prevent Ebola's spread. He died there on July 25.
Nigerian officials moved swiftly to identify and monitor everyone who came into contact with him at the airport and the hospital where he died, but news that one of those doctors contracted the disease raised fresh fears that the disease could take root in Lagos, Africa's most populous city.
The Ebola outbreak that began in February is the worst on record: On Monday, the World Health Organization said the death toll had reached 887 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as Nigeria, as of Aug. 1, an increase of 158 since it released figures on July 31.Mr. Chukwu said on Monday that officials would try to isolate the disease even if it pops up outside of Lagos. "Emergency centers have been set up in all states to tackle any Ebola outbreak if reported," he said.
The WHO said there have been more than 1,600 cases of Ebola since the disease emerged in West Africa this year.
An American doctor who contracted the disease after working at a treatment center in Liberia was flown to an Atlanta hospital last week to receive top-flight treatment in isolation. Officials plan to bring a second American infected at the same center to the same Atlanta hospital this week.
The outbreak prompted the presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone to stay home this week rather than attend a historic summit among about 50 African leaders and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.