* Nigeria monitoring 59 people who had contact with victim
* Liberia shuts borders to contain spread of the virus
* Ebola outbreak has killed 672 people across West Africa
(Adds Arik Air suspends flights to Sierra Leone, Liberia,
By Tim Cocks
LAGOS, July 28 The Nigerian city of Lagos shut
down and quarantined on Monday a hospital where a man died of
Ebola, the first recorded case of the highly infectious disease
in Africa's most populous country.
Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for the Liberian finance
ministry aged in his 40s, collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport
on July 20. He 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, and died on Friday.
"The private hospital was demobilised (evacuated) and the
primary source of infection eliminated. The decontamination
process in all the affected areas has commenced," Lagos state
health commissioner Jide Idris told a news conference.
Some hospital staff who were in close contact with the
victim have been isolated. The hospital will be shut for a week
and all staff closely monitored, Idris added.
Authorities are monitoring a total of 59 people who were in
contact with Sawyer, including airport contacts, the Lagos state
health ministry said. But the airline he flew in with has yet to
provide a passenger list for the flights he used, it added.
Ebola has killed 672 people across Guinea, Liberia and
Sierra Leone since it was first diagnosed in February.
The fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60
percent although the disease can kill up to 90 percent of those
who catch it. Highly contagious, its symptoms include vomiting,
diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
Derek Gatherer, a virologist at Britain's University of
Lancaster, said anyone on the plane near Sawyer could be in
"pretty serious danger", but that relatively wealthy Nigeria was
better placed to tackle the outbreak than poorer neighbours.
"Nigerians have deep pockets and they can do as much as any
Western country could do if they have the motivation and
organisation to get it done," he said.
Nigeria's largest air carrier Arik Air has suspended flights
to Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the risk of Ebola, Arik
spokesman Ola Adebanji said in emailed response on Monday.
David Heymann, head of the Centre on Global Health Security
at London's Chatham House, said every person who had been on the
plane to Lagos with Sawyer would need to be traced and told to
monitor their temperature twice a day for 21 days.
The World Health Organization said in a statement that
Sawyer's flight had 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," spokesman Paul
Liberia closed most of its border crossings and introduced
stringent health measures on Sunday, a day after a 33-year-old
American doctor working in Liberia for the relief organisation
Samaritan's Purse tested positive for Ebola. The group said he
had followed strict safety protocols when treating patients.
Nigeria's airports, seaports and land borders have been on
"red alert" since Friday over the disease.
Exacerbating the difficulty of containing its spread,
Nigerian doctors are on strike over conditions and pay. The
chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Tope Ojo, was
quoted by local media on Saturday as saying the strike would not
be called off because of the Ebola threat.
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 said.
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.
(Additional reporting by Oludare Mayowa in Lagos, Tom Miles in
Geneva and Kate Kelland in London; Editing by Catherine Evans)