The Federal Government in conjunction with the Lagos State Government have identified and isolated some 59 persons who had physical contact with Mr. Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who died of the ebola disease last Friday in Lagos.
The decision was premised on the concern that leaving them in the midst of the people could trigger an unfettered spread of the infection to hitherto uninfected persons.
At a press conference jointly addressed by officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Government yesterday, it was announced that 59 persons including the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie, had contact with the 40-year-old late Sawyer believed to have imported the EVD to Lagos.
The state government acknowledged that the contacts were established with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) among others.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said this at a news conference at Alausa, alongside the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina; the Project Director of NCDC, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi; and the President of Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, among others.
Type 1 & 2 contact
In his address, Idris disclosed that a total of 59 contacts “have so far been registered. The figure consists of 44 hospital contacts and 15 airport contacts”.
He gave the breakdown as follows: 38 healthcare workers, six laboratory staff members, three staff members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, two nursing staff members of Port Health and five airport passenger handlers.
The commissioner further disclosed that 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50 per cent had type 1 contact and 50 per cent had type 2 contact.
He however lamented that the manifest had not been provided by the airline, Asky Airline Flight, with Registration No KP50, adding that the precise number of passenger contacts “is yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos)”.
He noted that there was no report of any medical incident filed and the general declaration report of the flight was thereby making it difficult to get the details about the passengers of the aircraft.