LAGOS, July 28 The Nigerian city of Lagos on
Monday shut down and quarantined a hospital where a man died of
Ebola in the first recorded case of the highly infectious
disease in Africa's most populous country.
Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for the Liberian finance
ministry in his 40s, collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport on
July 20 and was put in isolation at the First Consultants
Hospital in Obalende, one of the most crowded parts of a city
that is home to 21 million people. He died on Friday.
"We have shut the hospital to enable us to properly
quarantine the environment. Some of the hospital staff who were
in close contact with the victim have been isolated," Lagos
state health commissioner Jide Idris told Nigerian TV.
The hospital will be shut for a week and all staff monitored
to ensure the virus has not spread, he added.
Ebola has killed 672 people across Guinea, Liberia and
Sierra Leone since it was first diagnosed in February.
It can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it, although
the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent.
Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, symptoms
include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
Adding to the risks, Nigerian doctors are on strike over
conditions and pay. Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association
Tope Ojo was quoted in local media on Saturday as saying the
strike would not be called off despite the Ebola threat.
Nigeria's airports, seaports and land borders have been on
"red alert" since Friday.
Liberia closed most of its border crossings on Sunday and
introduced stringent health measures.
The World Health Organization said in a statement that
Sawyer's flight stopped in Lome in Togo on its way to Lagos.
"WHO is sending teams to both Nigeria and Togo to do follow
up work in relation to contact tracing, in particular to
contacts he may have had on board the flight," WHO spokesman
Paul Garwood said.
The WHO said that in the past week, its regional director
for Africa, Luis Sambo, had been on a fact finding mission to
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have 1,201 confirmed,
suspected and probable cases between them.
"He observed that the outbreak is beyond each national
health sector alone and urged the governments of the affected
countries to mobilize and involve all sectors, including civil
society and communities, in the response," the WHO statement
A relative surge in cases in Guinea after weeks of low viral
activity showed that "undetected chains of transmission existed
in the community", the WHO said, calling for containment
measures and contact tracing to be stepped up in Guinea.
(Reporting by Tim Cocks and Oludare Mayowa in Lagos, additional
reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing
by Robin Pomeroy)