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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:18 pm 
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The federal government on Friday, August 8, 2014 has said that two new cases of Ebola infection have been confirmed in Lagos state.

These two fresh cases brings the total number to seven and two recorded deaths from the virus.

A Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer, died from the Ebola virus shortly after arriving Nigeria with the disease. A nurse who attended to him while he was quarantined in Lagos has also died of the virus.

Also, the federal government warned against bathing with salt water being circulated via SMSs and the social media as a cure for Ebola, saying it will prosecute individuals who spread such false information.

According to reports, 139 people are under surveillance in the country as panic over the spread of the diseases heightens.

http://www.thetrentonline.com/breaking- ... ed-lagos-2

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:20 pm 
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The Federal Government has said that two more cases of the Ebola disease have been confirmed in Lagos.
This comes after the matron of the Lagos hospital, where infected Liberian, Patrick Sawyer died, lost her life to the ailment.
The 2 new cases have brought the total number of infected citizens to 9 with the FG saying that 139 persons are currently under surveillance for making direct or indirect contact with the confirmed cases.
President Goodluck Jonathan has meanwhile summoned an emergency meeting to strategize on how to combat the outbreak of the virus in the country.

http://pulse.ng/news/it-gets-worse-2-mo ... 41298.html

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:50 pm 
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There was panic in Victoria Island today after a suspected Ebola patient was found to be admitted at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC clinic on Muri Okunola.

The patient was said to have first been admitted at First Consultant Medical Centre around the same time Liberian Patrick Sawyer was being treated at the clinic. Men suited in white safety clothing and an ambulance were seen at the hospital around one 1pm today.

Though there’s no definite confirmation that the patient is infected with Ebola, the Management of NNPC Clinic this evening announced the indefinite shutdown of the clinic.

The management said its a pre-emptive step and also said they have reported the issue to the Federal Ministry of Health as well as officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health. More pics after the cut

http://gist.ng/2014/08/nnpc-shuts-clini ... um=twitter

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:16 pm 
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Lagos (AFP) - Nigeria on Friday confirmed two new cases of Ebola, bringing the total number of infections in Africa's most populous country to nine, including two deaths.

"We have an additional two confirmed cases. So the total now, we have nine confirmed cases (including two deaths). The same two we told you about", Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told journalists.

President Goodluck Jonathan earlier Friday declared a national emergency over the deadly Ebola virus.

http://news.yahoo.com/nigeria-confirms- ... oA5QTQtDMD

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:23 am 
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Ebola: Family of dead Nigerian nurse on the run
August 8, 2014 | Filed under: Breaking News,main story | Author: Editor
23
The husband and children of the Nigerian nurse who died after getting infected with the Ebola virus are on the run, the health officials in the country have said.

Nigeria is the fourth West African country to be hit by the Ebola outbreak since it first emerged in March in Guinea. The virus entered the country when Patrick Sawyer, who was suffering from the disease arrived by plane late last month in Lagos.

Sawyer, who worked for the Liberian government in Monrovia and had a wife and three young daughters in Minnesota, was on a business flight to Nigeria when he fell ill.

The nurse, the only Nigerian fatality from the disease which has killed over 900 people in four West African countries, was exposed to the virus at a health facility Sawyer was taken before his death.

The nurse’s family were not the first to flee from quarantine. In Sierra Leone, health ministry data and officials, dozens of people confirmed by laboratory tests to have Ebola are now unaccounted for.

Industry watchers say the government more increase public awareness and sensitisation to educate the public.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is meeting with Nigerian Ebola Research Team on control and remedy of the disease.

A six-man research committee was inaugurated by the Federal Government on August 4, 2014 with a mandate to carry out research on the deadly contagious virus.

http://businessdayonline.com/2014/08/eb ... -WhwfldWGc

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:47 am 
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A pregnant woman who went for her usual check up at the First Consultant Hospital Obalande – same hospital that Patrick Sawyer was admitted - tested positive of the virus on Friday.
She got infected after being treated by the same nurse, Obi Justina Ejelonu, who attended to the Liberian carrier, Patrick Sawyer.
Recall that two nurses came in direct contact with Mr. Sawyer and one of them died this week – the other nurse, Justina is still alive.
The pregnant woman has since been quarantined at the mainland hospital where there is an isolation emergency centre for Ebola virus victims.
- See more at: http://www.nigeriannewsinfo.com/pregnan ... aqMve.dpuf

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:15 am 
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niman wrote:
A pregnant woman who went for her usual check up at the First Consultant Hospital Obalande – same hospital that Patrick Sawyer was admitted - tested positive of the virus on Friday.
She got infected after being treated by the same nurse, Obi Justina Ejelonu, who attended to the Liberian carrier, Patrick Sawyer.
Recall that two nurses came in direct contact with Mr. Sawyer and one of them died this week – the other nurse, Justina is still alive.
The pregnant woman has since been quarantined at the mainland hospital where there is an isolation emergency centre for Ebola virus victims.
- See more at: http://www.nigeriannewsinfo.com/pregnan ... aqMve.dpuf

Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Heartbreaking! Nursing Mother Contracts Deadly Ebola virus from Sawyer In Lagos

A medical doctor has revealed how a nursing mother contracted the deadly Ebola virus at a Lagos hospital. It was learnt that the woman was the patient who visited the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation staff clinic on Muri Okunola Street in the Victoria Island area of Lagos.

The doctor, who had a first-hand information of the incident, said the nursing mother had first visited the First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende.

He said, “The lady attended ante-natal at First Consultant prior to the arrival of the Liberian, Mr. Patrick Sawyer. She was delivered of her baby at the hospital after which she was discharged.

“A few weeks later, Mr. Sawyer came around and was attended to by health workers. He was first treated for malaria, then typhoid, before there was high index of suspicion. He tested positive for Ebola and died.

“Then the woman, who gave birth at the hospital came back to the hospital for her baby’s immunisation. The nurses who attended to Sawyer also attended to her.

“When she visited the place again last week, she discovered the place had been shut down for proper fumigation as a means of control against Ebola.”

He told Punch that the nursing mother decided to visit a neighbouring clinic which was the NNPC clinic. He said it was there she began her treatment after she fell ill.

“She was first treated for Malaria. However, after some medical tests, there was a high suspicion of Ebola haemorrhagic fever. On Friday, the Lagos State’s emergency response team on Ebola virus came around and took her to the Infectious Diseases Hospital,” he added.

The mother and her baby, who were taken away from the hospital on Friday, have been quarantined.

Confirming the report, the Medical Officer of Health, Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Dr. Wale Akeredolu, said the patient tested positive to the Ebola virus after a second test was conducted on her.

He confirmed the incident at a sensitisation programme organised for residents of the Eti-Osa on Monday.

He said “The baby has also been quarantined to see if after the incubation period of two to 21 days, she would manifest the symptoms of Ebola.”

The council boss, Abayomi Daramola, appealed to residents not to shirk their responsibilities on the pretext of running away from the virus.

He said, “This is a trying time in Nigeria. But the presence of Ebola does not mean people should run away from their responsibilities. The public apprehension is what can even spread the disease faster. So, people should just follow personal hygiene, use sanitisers and wash their hands regularly.”

http://www.pakurumo.com/2014/08/heartbr ... racts.html

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:30 am 
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WHO OK ‘MAD MAN’ SAWYER TRAVEL? MITTAL'S RED FLAG IGNORED

Written by FPA Staff Writer
Published: 12 August 2014

“The man was on NO watch list. I approved his travel. He emailed us several weeks earlier that his sister had died from the disease and that he had asked that his blood be taken for testing. That test result did not come back positive. So to say someone made him travel and exposed him to others is pure hate and misuse of a tragedy that have somehow brought the message home to the many who are in denial of this deadly disease, which by the way has NO CURE”. Sebastian Muah, former Deputy Finance Minister for Budget
Monrovia - Documents in possession of FrontPageAfrica suggest that the government of Liberia and a senior official at the Ministry of Finance ignored a major red flag by ArcelorMIttal which had warned its employees about the likelihood that Patrick Sawyer, a Ministry of Finance consultant, who also doubled as a consultant at the company, was infected with the deadly Ebola Virus prior to his travel to Lagos, Nigeria, where the deadly virus has now claimed the lives of 2 health care workers who came in contact with Sawyer with more than 40 others quarantined.

Sawyer’s infection has now been attributed as the key cause of the outbreak hitting Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria. With anger heightening amongst Nigerians over the careless attitude of Liberian officials who took their eye off the ball and allowed Patrick Sawyer, whose sister died of the Ebola virus to leave the ambient of Liberia for Lagos, prompting an apology from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

‘Mad Man’ Brought Ebola to us

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Monday described Sawyer as a ‘mad man’ when he said: "It is unfortunate that one mad man brought Ebola to us, but we have to contain it," President Jonathan said. "As a government we promise we will do everything possible to contain Ebola."
President Jonathan’s label of Sawyer as a mad man comes on the heels of the revelation Obi Justina Ejelonu, one of the Nigerian health care workers, who was on duty at the First Consultant Hospital in Obalende, Lagos when Sawyer was brought in, who explained some irrational behavior by Sawyer pointing to why the virus is spreading among nurses and doctors who came to Sawyer’s aid.

Obi Justina is said to be clinging on with her life after becoming infected with Ebola although she had initially posted a message on her Facebook page a boast that she had limited contact with Sawyer and was grateful to God to be alive.

Obi Justina wrote: “I never contacted his fluids. I checked his vitals, helped him with his food (he was too weak)….. I basically touched where his hands touched and that’s the only contact. Not directly with his fluids. At a stage, he yanked off his infusion and we had blood everywhere on his bed….. But the ward maids took care of that and changed his linens with great precaution.”

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf expressed disappointment in Sawyer’s behavior to travel after attending to his sick sister, remarking that he acted with disrespect and ignored the advice from health officials thereby placing the health of Nigerians at risk.

The president angrily stated on Independence Day, July 26 “In another event, one of our compatriots met his untimely death and put to risk others across borders because of indiscipline and disrespect for the advisory that had been given by health workers”. Nigerians anger heightened following the death of one of the medics who attended to Sawyer upon arrival in Lagos at the First Consultant Hospital in Obalende.

Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria Al-Hassan Conteh recently appealed for protection for Liberians residing in Nigeria. Ambassador Conteh said “The attention of our embassy has been brought to several cases of harassment of Liberians especially in Lagos and other places. “As we combat this disease, this is not only a health issue but socially too. It is important that we frame our public campaign to indicate that an association is not causation. “For example, not because the index case came from Liberia then all Liberians have Ebola,” he noted.

Sawyer’s departure from Liberia has been raising concerns as to how he was granted permission to travel after disclosing to workouts that his sister died of the Ebola virus.

Mittal Raises Red Flag

Arcellor Mittal, where Sawyer worked as an employee, red flagged Sawyer’s Ebola status after he visited the company headquarters in Buchanan and explained about the death of his sister from the deadly virus, a newsletter from the company and other communication indicates. In a July 11, 2014 memo to employees of Mittal captioned “Important Ebola Notice to All Employees and Contractors”, the company disclosed that Sawyer’s sister had died of the Ebola virus and he had minimal contact with his sister at the time the virus can be infectious.

Stated Mittal “A family member of an ArcelorMittal Liberia employee died on Tuesday, July 8th, in Monrovia due to a confirmed case of the Ebola virus. The employee had minimal contact with the victim, at the state where the virus was infectious. Doctors say the risk of potential transfer to any member of the ArcelorMittal staff or contractors is very low”. The company reported that Sawyer was submitted to the Ministry of Health for medical examination and request was made by the company to it to be served a copy of the result of the test.

“The employee has submitted to the Ministry of Health for a medical examination for possible Ebola infection, and has also requested the Ministry of Health to make the result available to ArcelorMittal Liberia and its close affiliates. There is no evidence to suggest that the employee has been infected”, Mittal told employees of the company.

In the true sense of following some of the preventive measures, Mittal announced that Sawyer will be absent from work for 21 days in order to go under the Ministry of Health guidelines to be monitored for the 21-day incubation period of the virus.

Further Mittal Preventive Measures

In further measures by the company to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus, on July 25, the company Chief Executive Officer, Antonio Carlos Maria in a newsletter published, “the Satellite”, informed employees that the company received information that Sawyer, whose family member died on Tuesday, July 8th in Monrovia due to a confirmed case of the Ebola virus has died from a suspected case of Ebola with the results of the test are awaited.

“The first thing I want to reassure everyone is that the employee, Patrick Sawyer, had very limited contact with his ArcelorMittal colleagues from his contact with the victim and therefore we do not believe anyone working at ArcelorMittal will be at risk. Patrick was last at the Buchanan site on 9th July when he informed us about the death of his sister” stated Executive Officer Maria.

The company also told employees about the introduction of Thermoflash scanners to measure the temperature of each employee as a useful initial screening sign for Ebola.

“Any employee or contractor with a high temperature will be referred to medical personnel who will examine and, if necessary, direct the individual to a secure area. We recognize this is difficult news, particularly for those who knew Patrick, who was a very committed and valued employee”, the Mittal head communicated concluded.

How Finance Ministry Treated Sawyer situation

While Arcelor Mittal had alerted its employees in separate communications about the possible risk posed by the visit of Sawyer at the premises of the company by allowing him to be absent from work, the Ministry of Finance which is now trying to raise in funding to fight the Ebola virus failed to act until Sawyers’ death. There was no alert from the Ministry to its employees about the Sawyer sister’s death and his interaction with his sister prior to her death and the risk posed by such interactions.

Deputy Finance Minister for Budget at the time who has now been appointed as Director of the Liberia Telecommunications Company (LITELCO) took to the social media through a chat room, Concern Liberian.org to defend the action of the Ministry in allowing Sawyer to travel, admitting that he granted Sawyer travel permission.

“The man was on NO watch list. I approved his travel. He emailed us several weeks earlier that his sister had died from the disease and that he had asked that his blood be taken for testing. That test result did not come back positive. So to say someone made him travel and exposed him to others is pure hate and misuse of a tragedy that have somehow brought the message home to the many who are in denial of this deadly disease, which by the way has NO CURE”, Said Muah.

Muah argued that he was not a Medical doctor and as such could not deny Sawyer his wish to travel challenging another discussant in the chat room to take him to an international court for approving the travel.

“I am a medical Doctor? I will respond when angry Liberians try to make an uncalled for statement about a tragic situation. They, older people, say empty drum can't make noise. So, you will be talking by yourself as I see you don't know what you are talking about and as a matter of finding the solution you DO NOT HAVE any but trying to find blame. WOW. Someone must have frustrated the hell out of you in Liberia O.... Take me to the international court since I am guilty of approving a travel”, Muah challenged his fellow discussant.

President Sirleaf’s claim that Sawyer did not heed to medical advice not to travel and the acknowledgement from the former Finance Ministry official that he approved Sawyer’s travel in the wake of a red alert from Health officials that Sawyer sister had died of Ebola, raises more questions about the government’s handling of the travel dilemma that has now put Nigerians at odds with Liberians.

Madman- Sawyer’s Action Angers Jonathan

On Monday, Nigerian President Jonathan expressed anger at the manner in which transfer the virus to Nigeria describing him as a madman. According to the Vanguard newspaper, Jonathan, speaking at the annual Interfaith Conference in Abuja, expressed disappointment with the way and manner Sawyer brought Ebola to Nigeria and assured citizens that government is ready to stop the disease. “As a government, we promise that we will do everything humanly possible to contain the Ebola virus”, Jonathan assured.

“My conversation with the WHO DG, Dr Margaret Chan was revealed, she said 60 percent of the transmission was spread during burials. That is why in my announcement; I’ve been saying that people should be careful about burials.

“Some people like burial ceremonies. This is not the time for burial ceremony, somebody is dead, he is dead, leave him there. This is not the best time for those ceremonies. If he is dead, he is already dead, Sawyer that brought this Ebola to Nigeria; his sister died of Ebola. And he started acting somehow, his country asked him not to leave the country, let them observe him, but the crazy man decided to leave and found his way here.”

10 New Ebola Cases in Nigeria

Nigeria is now reporting 10 confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in the commercial capital Lagos up from seven at the last count with two deaths, including Sawyer, who carried the virus in, the health minister said on Monday. The 10 are people who had direct contact with Sawyer, who collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport on July 25 and later died, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said. A nurse who had treated Sawyer without knowing what he had and did not therefore wear protective gear, also died.

Nigeria on Friday declared a national emergency over the Ebola outbreak. "As of today (Monday), 77 primary and secondary contacts of the index case have been placed under surveillance or isolation," Minister Chukwu said. The latest case was also a nurse, who had had primary contact with Sawyer, a Liberian-American. "When she got ill, we then brought her into isolation. We just tested her over the weekend."

Chukwu announced a series of measures meant to contain the disease, including training health care professionals of surveillance of possible cases, putting port officials on red alert, a public awareness campaign in multiple languages and alerting hospitals to set up isolation wards. The Nigerian Red Cross said it had provided 18 volunteers to work with the authorities to educate people on how Ebola spreads.

Ebola is one of the world's most deadly diseases, with no known vaccine or cure. The Zaire strain - the one currently spreading through West Africa - can kill up to 90 percent of sufferers, although in the latest outbreak the death toll has been around 55 percent.

As of Friday, August 8, 2014, the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in history — had killed 961 people and sickened 1,779 others. The WHO says, the virus is poised to sicken more than all of the previous outbreaks combined. There is currently no licensed vaccine or treatment for Ebola, although experimental drugs are being explored after two American medical missionaries infected with the virus appeared to show signs of improvement after taking new medications. About 54% of people who have been infected in this latest outbreak have died.

Last Friday, the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern” and has called for international solidarity" but also said many countries would probably not see any Ebola cases."Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own," Chan said. "I urge the international community to provide support on the most urgent basis possible."

http://frontpageafricaonline.com/index. ... to-nigeria

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:03 pm 
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N°: 150/2014
12 August 2014 [Abuja-Nigeria]
ECOWAS LOSES STAFF AT LAGOS LIAISON OFFICE

The ECOWAS Commission announces with deep regret the passing of a staff member
of its Lagos Liaison Office, Mr. Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, aged 36.

Mr. Abdulqudir, a Protocol Assistant was among those who assisted the Liberian
delegate to a regional meeting Mr. Patrick Sawyer, who died from the Ebola Virus
Disease at a Lagos hospital on 25th July 2014.

Mr. Abdulqudir had been under quarantine following that sad incident.

The Commission wishes to use this opportunity to express its gratitude to
Nigerian government authorities and others who contributed to managing the late
official while under quarantine.

The Management of the Commission wishes to commiserate with Mr. Abdulqudir’s
family and colleagues and prays for the repose of his soul.

Before this sad event, the Commission working in collaboration with Nigerian
health authorities, had disinfected all the facilities of the ECOWAS Lagos
Liaison Office as part of precautionary measures to safeguard the health, safety
and security of staff members, and will continue to monitor the situation.

Management has also intensified awareness campaign among staff on the deadly
virus and uses this opportunity to invoke the spirit of solidarity and mutual
assistance.

The Commission wishes to reassure staff of all Community Institutions all over
the entire region that it is taking all necessary steps to guarantee their
health and safety.

Furthermore, Management enjoins all staff members and community citizens in
general to intensify the observance of personal hygiene. They should also report
any suspected case to health facilities and seek medical advice or attention for
the effective containment and defeat of the Ebola disease.

On the directive of regional leaders, ECOWAS has already set up a Solidarity
Fund to fight the disease and has solicited the support contribution of Member
States and development partners to the Fund to rid the region of the virus.

The ECOWAS Commission wishes to reiterate its continued commitment to support
Member States in confronting this deadly virus.

http://www.comm.ecowas.int/

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:14 am 
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Nigeria races to halt Ebola spread in overcrowded Lagos
Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:30am GMT

By Tim Cocks

LAGOS (Reuters) - When Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer collapsed at Lagos airport, he brought Ebola into a potentially ideal place for the deadly virus to spread - a vast, dirty, overcrowded city where tracing carriers and their contacts is a major problem.

Sawyer's arrival last month from Liberia - which along with Sierra Leone and Guinea lies at the centre of an outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people - caught authorities in the Nigerian commercial capital unprepared.

By the time they realised where he was from or what illness he had, Sawyer had had contact with dozens of people. Lagos has now had 10 cases of Ebola, an illness spread by contact with the fluids of an infected person.

As Africa's biggest economy, Nigeria has a better health system than the other west African countries which are among the poorest in the world, and Ebola doesn't spread through the air or water supply as with many other epidemic diseases.

But health experts - who are trying to overcome superstition and public ignorance about Ebola as well as the disease itself - say there is now only a short opportunity to find and lock down other infected people before the outbreak in the city of 21 million gets out of hand.

"Lagos is big, it's crowded. It would make in many ways a perfect environment for the virus to spread," said Nigerian epidemiologist Chikwe Ihekweazu, who runs website Nigeria Health Watch and worked on Ebola in South Sudan a decade ago.

"In the heart of Lagos, people live on top of each other, sharing bedrooms and toilets. In densely populated communities infection control becomes almost impossible to do well."

When Sawyer landed at Murtala Mohammed airport on July 20, none of the bystanders, airport staff or healthworkers who rushed to help him understood the danger they were in.

No one had the full body protection of mask, suit and gloves that are essential to prevent contagion, so his ill advised journey gave the world's worst Ebola outbreak a foothold in Africa's most populous nation.

Sawyer died five days later, followed by one of the nurses who first treated him. Eight others are confirmed infected and receiving treatment, including a hospital doctor.

"Unfortunately nobody knew the status of this person, no one knew the kind of illness that he had, no one knew he was coming," Lagos state health commissioner Jide Idris said. A health official said he had also been sick on the plane.

Sawyer was taken to First Consultants Hospital where, Idris said, he was treated "like any ordinary patient".

Hospital staff took blood samples, checked his temperature, treated his symptoms, which by then included severe vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding - all signs of late-stage Ebola.

"In the course of doing this, a lot of those health workers got infected," said Idris.

It took weeks to trace about 70 people who were primary contacts with Sawyer, multiplying the possible avenues of contagion in the meantime.

Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is helping to fight the West African outbreak, said he was "deeply, deeply concerned about the situation" in Lagos because of the city's size.

"If you leave behind even a single burning ember, it's like a forest fire. It flares back up," he told a U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week.


"ONE MAD MAN"

Nigerians are furious that Sawyer, whose sister had died of Ebola and who was himself under surveillance, was able to hop on a plane and give the virus a free ride to Nigeria.

"It is unfortunate that one mad man brought Ebola to us," President Goodluck Jonathan put it bluntly on Monday.

Sawyer, who worked as public health manager at an iron ore mining project of steelmaker ArcelorMittal, caught the disease from his sister who died in Monrovia of Ebola on July 8.

Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown told Reuters that Sawyer had travelled against medical advice. ArcelorMittal said there were no more cases among its employees and contractors in the country "at this time".

The arrival of the virus in Lagos has raised global attention to the biggest and most complex outbreak so far of Ebola, which has no proven cure and was first detected in 1976 in the forests of then Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo.

In many ways, Africa's top oil producer is in a better position than the other three affected countries. According to consultancy DaMina Advisors, it has one doctor per 2,879 people - compared with one per 86,275 in Liberia.

While public doctors are striking over pay, Nigeria has the money to mobilise enough health workers for now.

Recent progress in tracing Sawyer's contacts, though it got off to a slow start, gives some cause for hope, experts say.

Yet because it is a city of migrants, Lagos is a potential springboard for Ebola to spread across Nigeria. "There's a lot of mobility within the country. If infected people end up taking taxis to their villages, then we're in trouble," said Ihekweazu.

"PEOPLE ARE AFRAID"

Alarm bells first went off when the hospital ran I.D. checks on Sawyer two days after his arrival, and figured out belatedly that he was Liberian who had come from Monrovia, Idris said.

They quickly isolated him and tested him for Ebola. Yet even after that, nurses continued treating Sawyer without protection, so "the chances of infection again went up".

Tracing Sawyer's contacts aboard the flight then took time because the airline produced a passenger list only after a week.

Three weeks later, 177 primary and secondary contacts of Sawyer's have been traced and all are under surveillance, federal Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said on Monday.

Chukwu also announced measures to contain the disease, including training health care professionals in surveillance of possible cases, putting port officials on red alert, and a public awareness campaign in multiple languages.

In its built-up metropolitan areas, Lagos has 20,000 people per square km (50,000 people per square mile), the state government says, about the same as other overcrowded cities such as Mumbai and Dhaka.

Sanitation is at least as bad as either of the other two, with most Lagosians urinating and defecating in the open.

Both walls leading to the entrance to the now closed First Consultants hospital have "Do Not Urinate Here" stencilled on them, though judging by the smell no one pays much attention.

Against one, an old woman sells a kaleidoscopic array of flip-flop sandals flowering out of a rusty wheelbarrow. A child hawks plastic bags of pineapple slices next to an open drain.

Almost every bit of this street in downtown Obalende, a mishmash of rundown colonial buildings and tin roofed shacks, has somebody walking, standing, sitting down or trading on it.

"We've never had such a situation before, never had Ebola in a large, densely populated area like Lagos," said John Vertefeuille, leader of the CDC's response team for the city. The real problem "is identifying suspected patients ... and making sure that we find every contact", he told Reuters. "That's our priority."

Public education is another essential. Boyai Sanusi, who runs a bag-making shop on a street opposite the hospital, was shocked when he heard Ebola was on his doorstep, but confesses he has no idea how it is spread. "People are afraid," he said. "They don't know what to do."

David Heymann from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, an expert on the virus that struck near Congo's Ebola river almost 40 years ago, said Nigeria needed to overcome the problem. "They should be making use of every channel of communication in Lagos, every radio station in every ethnic language should be talking about this, explaining the symptoms over and over again," he told Reuters.

FAITH HEALERS AND WITCH DOCTORS

Poor education and superstition has long been good business for traditional doctors and faith healers in a region where sickness is often seen as the work of devils or mischievous ancestral spirits.

Early in the alert, Lagos state authorities became alarmed by some claims of miracle cures circulating, and threatened to prosecute anyone claiming they could heal Ebola victims.

Nigerian Pastor Ituah Ighodalo had to take down a Facebook posting in which he said U.S. preacher John G. Lake once cured Ebola victims "with bare hands" and "brought to an abrupt end the spread of the deadly virus". Lake died in 1935, four decades before Ebola was discovered.

But the main worry was "Prophet" T.B. Joshua, pastor of one of Nigeria's biggest churches who draws tens of thousands from all over West Africa, lured by claims his divine healing powers can cure ailments including HIV/AIDS and spine damage.

He was due to hold a convention last weekend, prompting fears of Ebola victims showing up seeking miracles, but after a Lagos state delegation visited Joshua, he agreed not to hold it, and he told followers from Ebola-hit countries to stay away.

On social media, a claim that eating bitter kola nuts and another that drinking salt water can prevent Ebola went viral, and Chukwu warned those spreading the rumours would be arrested.

The Vanguard newspaper daily reported this week that two people died drinking salt water in Jos city. That would make misinformation about the disease in Nigeria so far as deadly as Ebola itself.

http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/i ... 13?sp=true

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