The death of a Liberian national who died in quarantine in Lagos, today confirmed that the worst-ever outbreak of the virus has reached Nigeria.
“The patient was subjected to thorough medical tests … which confirmed the virus of Ebola,” as the cause of death, Nigeria’s Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told journalists.
The 40-year-old worked for the Liberian government and had travelled to Nigeria by air via Togo’s capital Lome for a meeting organised by the west African bloc known as ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the minister said.
He was suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhoea upon arrival at the international airport in Lagos and was transported directly to hospital, the minister further said.
The patient “avoided contact with the general public” between the airport and the hospital, he added.
“All the passengers that the patient came in contact 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.
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, but the minister assured that the patient did not come into contact with anyone outside the airport aside from medical workers.