LAGOS (AFP) – 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.
The 40-year-old Monrovia resident arrived in Nigeria’s mega-city on Sunday and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhoea, said Yewande Adesina, the special advisor on health for the Lagos state government.
The patient was “detained for possible Ebola infection while blood samples were sent to the Virology Reference Laboratory in Lagos as well as to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Dakar,” she said.
Extra precaution was taken at the hospital because the patient was suffering from “symptoms associated with Ebola,” she added.
“Results are still pending. Presently the patient’s condition is stable and he is in recovery,” Adesina told journalists. “The diarrhoea and vomiting have stopped. He is still under isolation.”
A third laboratory outside Nigeria must also test the samples before a final determination on Ebola can be reached, Adesina said.
The patient travelled from Monrovia to Lagos via Togo’s capital Lome.
The WHO has recorded more than 900 cases of Ebola in the epidemic that has raged across West Africa in recent months, but this is the first suspected case to emerge in Nigeria.
Liberia has recorded 172 cases of the disease, including 105 deaths.
The epidemic is the worst-ever since the virus first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Lagos government has begun rolling out an emergency response in a bid to contain any potential spread of the virus across the congested city of more than 20 million people, with poor sanitation and health infrastructure.
Ebola is a form of haemorrhagic fever which is deadly in up to 90 percent of cases.
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.