Fresh News: Suspected Ebola Cases Cause Anxiety in Lagos, Kaduna @iReporterNG

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Chiemelie Ezeobi   and 
John Shiklam

The death of two yet-to-be identified patients who were allegedly sypmtomatic of the Ebola virus at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi- Araba, and Jibowu bus station on yesterday and Monday, respectively, has again given cause for concern over the spread of the virus in the state.

While the first victim died on board a loading Kaduna-bound bus, yesterday's incident sswas said to have occurred at the premises of LUTH after the said victim was rushed in by the Port Health Services.

According to reports, the deceased who died at LUTH was first rushed to the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital where he was put on high index suspicion due to the symptoms he exhibited like high temperature, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Before he could be rushed to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba for a blood test, he was said to have started vomiting blood and died a few hours later.

Sources said although the hospital was yet to ascertain if he had Ebola, investigations had begun.

Despite repeated attempts to reach the Public Relations Officer of LUTH, Mrs. Hope Nwawolo, she did not take her calls nor did she return them. Subsequent text messages to her phone hours later were not answered.
But in an earlier interview with THISDAY, Nwawolo had said the hospital was equipped in the eventuality that it got such patients.

According to her, the hospital had gone a step further to train its medical personnel and caregivers on what to look out for when treating patients, as well as measures of prevention.

She had also said that they screen new patients to check for the virus before admitting them into the hospital, that way, they get to eliminate the chances of it spreading to other admitted patients and medical personnel.
However, when THISDAY contacted one of the communication managers at the Ebola centre, Blessing Ejiofor of UNICEF, she said the true picture would unfold with time.

She said: “Truly if such happened, the minister would have briefed the press about it. However, due to the Ebola outbreak, we have been inundated with so many calls, some which turn out to be false alarms.

“Once anyone dies, people suspect Ebola and call us to come and remove the body, even though the death could have been by other causes. But it is all good, it shows people are treating the virus with the seriousness it deserves.

“But most times, what we get are patients with high index suspicion (suspected cases) and most times these patients turn out to be negative.”
Similarly, a suspected case of the deadly virus was been recorded in Kaduna State raising fear and anxiety among people in the state.

A law student at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) admitted at the Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika, near Zaria, was said to have shown symptoms of the disease yesterday.

The spokesman of ABUTH, Mallam Bilyaminu Umar, yesterday told THISDAY that the law student from the university who was admitted at the hospital had shown symptoms similar to one infected with Ebola.

The Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Thot Dogo, said while reacting to the incident on the phone that the state Ministry of Health was alerted over the incident by the authorities of ABUTH.

According him, “The authorities alerted my ministry when it was suspected that a student who is a law undergraduate of ABU, Zaria, started showing some signs of Ebola-like high fever and rashes on his body after over a week of admission at the hospital.

“The blood sample of the patient has been taken to a laboratory in Lagos for tests, which will come out by Tuesday next week.
“The outcome of the laboratory result will determine further action. The state government has provided the hospital management with protective equipment for its team of medical personnel attending to the patient."

Speaking on the matter, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, who is also the Chairman, Kaduna State Ebola Prevention and Control Committee, assured residents of the state that the situation was under control and urged them not to panic.

Bajoga said the state government had designated three Ebola quarantine and prevention centres in the three senatorial zones of the state for such emergency cases.

“We have all the equipment and the personnel and two of the sites are ready. People should not resort to undue panic, like bathing with salt, drinking salt water and chewing bitter kola. We urge all residents of the state to maintain basic hygiene habits like washing of hands before and after meals.

“People should avoid exotic wild meat for now, and cook all food properly. Even though we are yet to confirm this case, we encourage people to report any sign of a sick person that may exhibit Ebola symptoms to the nearest medical health facility in the state,” he said.

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