by Kolapo Olapoju
According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria and Senegal have managed to stop the spread of the Ebola virus disease.
The apex world health body says the two countries, which are part of the five countries affected by the outbreak of the virus in West Africa, have successfully halted the world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak.
The WHO statement said, “On the whole, the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained,” a WHO statement said. There were no new deaths in Guinea, four in Sierra Leone and 39 in Liberia.”
Ebola virus disease was first imported into Nigeria on 20 July, by Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who flew from Liberia to Lagos. After arriving at the airport, Sawyer became seriously ill and died five days later.
The Nigerian government immediately reacted to the development by tracing all the primary and secondary contacts of Sawyer, after which some were placed under observation and quarantined for signs of infection. The government also increased surveillance at all entry points and borders into the country.
The Nigerian government also made attempts to control the spread of disease through an improvement in tracking, providing education to avert disinformation and increase accurate information, and the teaching of appropriate hygiene measures.
On 6 August, the first Nigerian died of the virus. She was one of the nurses that attended to the Liberian, while on 19 August, it was reported that the doctor who treated Sawyer, Ameyo Adadevoh, had also died of Ebola disease. Adadevoh was responsible in curbing the spread of the virus in the country, as she successfully prevented the index case (Sawyer) from leaving the hospital at the time of diagnosis.
On 19 August, the Commissioner of Health in Lagos announced that Nigeria had seen twelve confirmed cases; four died (including the index case) while another five, including two doctors and a nurse, were declared disease-free and released.
At last count, Nigeria had 19 confirmed cases with 12 survivors and seven deaths. The last case of the disease was successfully discharged on 10 September from the Ebola Isolation Centre.
On 11 September, Nigeria announced that it no longer had even a single case of Ebola but would need to wait for about a week more before declaring itself completely Ebola-free. That week’s period elapsed last Thursday.
On Monday, 22 September, the World Health Organization announced that the overall death toll of the recent and deadliest case of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, has risen to 2,793 out of 5,762 cases.
While Nigeria and Senegal have presumably halted the spread of the virus, other West African countries affected, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, are still grappling with the Ebola virus disease.