A fresh Ebola case has been recorded following the death of a doctor in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil rich city. This comes just after the country’s Health Minister announced a successful containment of the deadly virus.
The victim according to local media had administered treatment to a diplomat who was part of the delegation that met Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, Nigeria’s index case, in Lagos. But he evaded quarantine in Lagos and flew to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Rivers is the country’s top oil producing state.
“After four days, following a manhunt for him, he returned to Lagos by which time he was found to be without symptoms,” Nigeria’s Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told reporters.
“This case would have been of no further interest since he had completed the 21 days of surveillance without any other issue but for the fact that the doctor who treated him died,” Chukwu added.
The diplomat is still alive, but the doctor has been killed by the virus and his sick wife, suspected to have contracted the virus has been quarantined in Port Harcourt. The deceased doctor’s hospital has also been shut down by the authorities, with 70 people, including morticians, who embalmed the doctor, quarantined. The hotel where the doctor allegedly treated the diplomat on arrival has also been reportedly shut down.
The Health Minister had earlier in the week assured Nigerians that the virus had been contained as there was only one case left. “As I speak to you, Nigeria has only one confirmed case of EVD, a secondary contact of Mr Patrick Sawyer. This is an indication that, thus far, Nigeria has contained the disease outbreak,” Chukwu had said.
The new Ebola death brings to six, the number of people killed by the virus in Nigeria.
If not urgently contained, an outbreak in Port Harcourt may further hamper Nigeria’s oil and gas sector as Port Harcourt is crucial to the country’s oil production, with several oil firms having significant presence in the city.
However, if Nigeria’s handling of the Ebola outbreak in Lagos is anything to go by, the virus is expected to be contained relatively soon.