Nigeria confirms Liberian man died of Ebola in Lagos (Update)

July 25, 2014 by Ola Awoniyi

Nigeria said Friday that Ebola caused the death of a Liberian national who died in quarantine in Lagos, confirmation that the worst-ever outbreak of the virus has reached Africa's most populous country.

Nigeria's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told journalists that "thorough medical tests" had confirmed "the virus of Ebola" as the cause of death.

The 40-year-old, who died overnight, worked for the Liberian government and had travelled to Nigeria from Monrovia by air via Togo's capital Lome.

His final destination was the southern city of Calabar where he was scheduled to attend a meeting organised by the west African bloc known as ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the minister said.

Lagos government officials have previously said that he arrived at the city's international airport on Sunday.

He was suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhoea upon arrival and was transported directly to hospital, according to the minister.

The patient "avoided contact with the general public" between the airport and the hospital and "there was no time for him to mingle in Lagos," he added.

"All the passengers that the patient came in contact with have been traced and are being investigated," in a bid to contain any spread of the virus across the city of more than 20 million people, Chukwu said.

The minister insisted that health officials had made direct contact with everyone on board the flight and were monitoring their conditions but offered no explanation as to how that was done.

The Liberian was flying on the Togo-based ASKY Airlines. African airlines typically do not require detailed contact information from passengers and it was not immediately clear how Nigeria had succeeded in tracing everyone on board.

'Red alert'

As of July 20, the number of Ebola cases recorded in the months-long epidemic stood at 1,093, including more than 660 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

Liberia has seen 127 fatalities.

Lagos, the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, poses challenges to health officials seeking to contain a spread of the virus.

The congested city has terrible sanitation and a poor health system, especially in public hospitals which are grossly under-funded, badly equipped and regularly do not have electricity.

Chukwu said ministry specialists had been deployed at all major ports—both sea and air—to screen anyone suffering from symptoms associated with Ebola.

Border officials have been put on "red alert," he said.

Ebola is a form of haemorrhagic fever which can have a 90-percent fatality rate.

It can fell victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea—and in some cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

Ebola is believed to be carried by animals hunted for meat, notably bats.

It spreads among humans via bodily fluids including sweat, meaning you can get sick from simply touching an infected person.

With no vaccine, patients believed to have caught the virus must be isolated to prevent further contagion.

Ebola first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is named after a river there.

Explore further: Nigeria fears as man falls ill with Ebola-like symptoms

Related Stories

Nigeria fears as man falls ill with Ebola-like symptoms

July 24, 2014
A Liberian man has been hospitalised in Lagos with Ebola-like symptoms, but it is not yet clear if he is infected with the killer virus, Nigerian officials said Thursday.

Death toll in W.African Ebola outbreak rises to 518, WHO reports

July 8, 2014
The number of people believed to have died from Ebola in west Africa has jumped to 518, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

West Africa Ebola death toll reaches 660: WHO

July 25, 2014
The death toll in West Africa's Ebola outbreak has risen to 660, with the number of cases surpassing 1,000, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Ebola toll rises to 74 in Guinea

April 29, 2014
Guinea said Tuesday 74 people had died so far this year in one of the worst ever outbreaks of the Ebola virus.

Death toll in W.African Ebola outbreak rises to 467: WHO

July 1, 2014
The number of people believed to have died from Ebola in west Africa has risen sharply to 467, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday.

West Africa Ebola toll tops 600: WHO

July 15, 2014
The death toll in West Africa's Ebola outbreak has risen to 603, the World Health Organization (WHO)) said on Tuesday, with 68 new fatalities mostly in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Recommended for you

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk

January 16, 2018
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk ...

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic

January 16, 2018
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

Don't hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze, doctors warn

January 15, 2018
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs

January 12, 2018
Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world—creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines—and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant ...

Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication

January 11, 2018
A new study reveals how dengue virus manages to reproduce itself in an infected person without triggering the body's normal defenses. Duke researchers report that dengue pulls off this hoax by co-opting a specialized structure ...

Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses

January 11, 2018
Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.