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Ebola outbreak reached Nigeria

on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 22:39

The first probable case of Ebola virus disease (EBV) has been reported in Nigeria: it is a 40-year-old male from Liberia who spotted symptoms during his travel to Lagos, on July 20th. He was immediately admitted to a private hospital but died five days later.

Nigeria is the fourth African country – the others being Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – to be hit by the violent outbreak that so far has claimed the life of 672 people out of 1201 confirmed cases. The highest number of cases was reported in Sierra Leone (525) but the highest death rate occurred in Guinea, with 319 deaths out of 427 cases. After some weeks of low viral activity, the last few days saw a surge in the number of new cases: 108, as reported by the Ministries of Health of the three countries involved, between 21st and 23rd July. Of them, twelve were lethal.

During a mission to assess first-hand the situation of the outbreak, the WHO Regional Director for the Africa Region, Luis Sambo, claimed for a stronger involvement of all sectors from government and civil society of the involved countries. He said that is necessary to enhance cross-border and promote behavioral change, and that the outbreak can be contained using known infection prevention and control measures.

Within such a situation, the death of Sheik Umar Khan, the doctor from Sierra Leone ho was credited with treating more than 100 patients, was a striking blow. Khan was 39 years old and was considered a national hero due to his commitment to fight the disease. He got infected by Ebola while operating in the north of Sierra Leone.