The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Project Director, Dr. Abdulsalami Nasidi, has said that the health ministry is monitoring about 400 people in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for signs of Ebola after they came in contact with a Port Harcourt doctor who died of the disease but hid the fact that he had been exposed.
Nasidi said this on Thursday in Geneva, saying that there is a sense of “hopelessness” due to the lack of proven drugs or vaccines to treat Ebola that has infected 18 people in the country. In an interview with Reuters, he said that more isolation wards were being opened in the oil industry hub but voiced confidence that there would not be “many cases” there.
After having contact with an Ebola patient and before his own death on August 22, the Port Harcourt doctor, named by local authorities as Iyke Enemuo, carried on treating patients and met scores of friends, relatives and medics, leaving about 60 of them at high risk of infection.The doctor’s wife, who is also a physician, and a patient in the same hospital have been infected with Ebola.
“Everything about this doctor was in secrecy, he violated our public health laws by treating a patient with a highly pathogenic agent who revealed to him that he had contact with Ebola and didn’t want to be treated in Lagos because he might be put in isolation.He treated him in secrecy outside hospital premises. When he became ill he did not reveal to his colleagues that he had contact with someone who contracted Ebola. He was taken to General Hospital, a private hospital that sees everybody.That is the only case that effectively escaped our surveillance network. We are paying now for it,” Nasidi said.
He spoke on the sidelines of a two-day World Health Organisation experts meeting aimed at speeding development of Ebola drugs and vaccines.