LAGOS (AA) – Nigerian authorities have confirmed the death of a Liberian man earlier diagnosed with symptoms of the Ebola virus that has claimed hundreds of lives across West Africa.
“The passenger presented with fever, vomiting and diarrhea on arrival at the airport,” Nigerian health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian, arrived in Lagos from the Liberian capital Monrovia Sunday.
He was immediately hospitalized and quarantined.
“The patient was subjected to thorough medical evaluation where laboratory investigations were carried out,” said Minister Chukwu.
Sawyer’s blood sample was taken to the advanced laboratory at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital which confirmed the diagnosis of Ebola virus.
“The result was corroborated by other laboratories outside Nigeria,” confirmed the health minister.
“Despite the urgent specialized barrier nursing care provided for the patient in Lagos, the patient unfortunately passed away in the early hours of July 25,” he added.
Ebola, a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure, is responsible for the death of hundreds in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals and also spreads through human-to-human transmission.
The health minister said the country has perfected measures to avoid the spread of the virus but urged citizens to be very vigilant and to report suspicious cases of ill-health.
“All the passengers the patient came in contact with have been traced and are being investigated in line with the WHO international health regulations and in keeping with international best practices,” added Minister Chukwu.
“All ports of entry into Nigeria including airports, seaports and land boarders are played on red alert,” he said.
The minister said all government health institutions in Nigeria have been equipped to handle any Ebola emergency.
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