The dreaded Ebola disease scare has led to the closure of an unnamed hospital and its workers and patients quarantined, Anambra state Commissioner of Health, Dr Josephat Akabuike has announced.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a viral haemorrhagic fever and one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind.
Briefing Journalists in Awka, Akabuike said the measure followed information received by the government that a man whose body was brought back from Liberia at the weekend, might have died of the killer disease.
He said that information available to the government indicated that the body was brought back from Liberia through Lagos and deposited in the mortuary at Nkwelle-Ezenaka in Oyi Local Government of the state.
“Part of the briefing is to tell you what we are doing to make sure we don’t allow the deadly virus to come into the state.
“What actually called for this is that we have a report that a corpse was brought through Lagos and the deceased was said to have been taken from Liberia where, of course, you know there are cases of the disease.
“The corpse was said to have been brought to Nigeria and deposited somewhere in Nkwelle-Ezunaka and the ministry was alerted and that is why we are taking all these measures’’.
The commissioner said that Governor Willie Obiano had already directed the Police Command in the state to cordon off the place until the necessary tests were carried out.
He further said that Federal Government had also sent medical experts from the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, to Anambra to carry out the test at the hospital premises.
Meanwhile, Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation.
Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine epicentres of Ebola, joining Liberia in imposing tough controls to curb the worst ever outbreak of the virus amid fears it could spread beyond West Africa.
Meanwhile, a Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer was confirmed to have died from the virus in Lagos last Friday.
In a measure of rising international concern, Britain on Wednesday held a government meeting on Ebola, which it said was a threat it needed to respond to.
The outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever, for which there is no known cure, began in the forests of remote eastern Guinea in February, but Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), through its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emeka Obua says it is maintaining strict screening of visitors at airports, seaports and border areas to prevent the spread of Ebola Virus into the country.
He said that the Service was collaborating with the Port Health Services and Plant Quarantine Services to screen visitors entering the country.
“All immigrants, including plants and animals, entering the country are screened for any form of disease that can cause harm to the health of Nigerian citizens.
“We, in collaboration with sister agencies, have always maintained tight security at the ports checking to ensure that anything or anyone entering the country is certified to do so’’, he said.
Obua said that Port Health Services officials were immediately alerted in cases where they encountered travelers with incomplete certificate of vaccination or obvious signs of ill-health.
He urged officers at the ports and border areas to take precautionary measures by wearing protective clothing to prevent contact with the virus.
He said that officers deployed to those areas always met with travelers; hence it was mandatory for them to wear face masks, hand gloves and other protective item.
Obua said the measure was to reduce the risk of contracting the virus as it was easily transmitted through physical contact and air.
“The Ministry of Health has alerted us not to have direct physical contact with any traveler, and to take precaution since we come in contact with people at the country’s entry and exit points.
“They have advised us to wear protective clothing like face masks and hand gloves”, he said.