The Federal Government on Friday dispelled speculation of a suspected fresh case Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Calabar, Cross River, and urged Nigerians to observe good hygiene behaviour.
Mr Linus Awute, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, allayed the public fear of the rumour while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
Awute said the rumours have been making round since Wednesday Oct. 7, until government agencies concluded investigation of the case. He said the ministry monitored the latest speculation and found out that it was a case of the death of a 21-year-old student of the University of Calabar.
He said the deceased patient was brought into the causality ward of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) by the mother and other family members on Oct. 7. Awute said the deceased was admitted at about one o’clock in the morning and was investigated clinically and tested in the laboratory to determine his ailment.
“He was admitted with bleeding, diarrhoea, vomiting, skin rashes and mouth lesions. His temperature on admission was 37 degrees centigrade and vital signs were stable. “The parents said that the patient had never travelled out of Calabar, on the basis of signs and symptoms; a tentative diagnosis of viral Hemorrhagic fever to rule out Lassa fever was made.
“Some of his family members had a history of chicken pox a week to his falling ill,’’ the permanent secretary said. Awute said that the deceased was treated with antipyretics and antibiotics during the course of his illness and he also received intravenous fluids.
“Sadly, at exactly 8.15 p.m., seven hours post-admission, the patient passed on,’’ Awute said.
According to him, 15 health workers and eight patients who had direct or indirect contact with the deceased patient were quarantined. He added that other hospital workers were provided with thermometers to monitor their temperature twice daily.
The permanent secretary said that blood sample collected from the patient was taken to Irrua Lassa Fever Specialist Hospital for laboratory confirmation of the cause of the disease. “Tests were run on the blood sample throughout the night and this morning the result confirmed that the deceased was negative for both Ebola and Lassa fever viral diseases.
“Additional tests using next generation sequencing methods are currently being carried out at the Redeemers University African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Ede, Osun state.
“This is to confirm which virus must have caused the infection and death and the result is expected on Monday Oct. 12, 2015,’’ he said. Awute urged Nigerians to collaborate with the federal ministry of health and the entire healthcare teams to report any suspected case to avoid reintroduction of Ebola into the country.
He said this incidence has once again demonstrated that the fight against Ebola must be a perfect team work based on effective collaboration between government and other stakeholders.