Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Elderly Woman Tests Positive For Ebola In Port Harcourt

One of the three persons taken to the Ebola virus quarantine centre in  Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, has tested positive for the disease.

The latest case, an elderly woman, contracted the virus in Good Heart Hospital, the health facility where Dr. Iyke Enemuo, the doctor who treated an ECOWAS diplomat, Koye Olu-Ibukun, died last week.

Late doctor Enemuo's sister, Chinyere, has now been taken to the quarantine centre.

The two others – a doctor and a pharmacist – tested negative. Even though they had been released from the centre, another round of tests will however be carried out to reconfirm their status.

The doctor and the pharmacist are members of staff of Sam Steel Clinic, a health facility founded by Enemuo.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, made these developments known in Abuja and Port Harcourt on Monday.

Chukwu, at the opening of the 2nd National Council on Health meeting on the outbreak of the EVD in Nigeria, also said that the Federal Government had indicated interest to participate in the clinical trials of two Japanese vaccines to combat the disease.

The minister, who said the government had also applied for other experimental drugs, including TKM-Ebola, dispelled rumours of an outbreak of the disease in the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that investigation had revealed the person involved was a sickle cell patient.

Chukwu said, “The Treatment Research Group which I had informed you about, has been working hard to identify experimental drugs like Zmapp, and also make recommendations to government on further research on these drugs as well as vaccines for EVD treatment and isolation.

“Following the TRG’s recommendations and in consultation with NAFDAC and NHREC, Nigeria has indicated interest to participate in the clinical trials for two candidate EVD vaccines and we are considering that a third may be added to the list. We have also applied for experimental drugs such as TKM-Ebola.

“The TRG has submitted a detailed profile and brief on the oral antiviral agent which the Japanese government has offered to make available to affected countries through the World Health Organisation. We are now considering the profile and brief to enable us to reach a final decision on making it available to our patients.

“Our initial knowledge of the agent is that it has been shown to have strong antiviral activity against the influenza virus following phases I and II human trials, it is now going through phase III clinical trials; it is shown to have strong antiviral property against Ebola virus in vitro and in vivo. These and the fact that it is considered safe, having passed through phases I and II clinical trials, makes it good candidate drug for use in emergency situation as the EVD.”

Chukwu also gave an update of the EVD since its outbreak in the country, adding that government’s performance in sustaining the spread of the disease had been lauded by all stakeholders.

According to him, as of August 31, 2014, the total number of cases of EVD in Nigeria stood at 17 while the total number of cases treated at the isolation ward in Lagos State is 14.

Also, the total number of those discharged is seven while the total number of deaths among those treated in Lagos is five.


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