The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is having effects around the globe, and the human tragedy seeping from the disease is getting deeper. According to a statement released by the Nigerian government, the disease has taken its first government in that country. The victim is apparently a Liberian who died in a hospital in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Lagos Health Commissioner, Jide Idris, tried to maintain calm while informing the public about the probable death. “We’re assuming it’s Ebola until further notice. The public should not panic. We’re trying as much as possible to take the measures that will contain the spread.” Local lab results showed the man was positive for Ebola a separate test, performed by the WHO will be completed in the next day.
Ebola stalks Nigeria
According to the health official the man was isolated as soon as he arrived into the country from Liberia, one of the countries affected by the current outbreak. Porous borders and poor infrastructure, among other ongoing problems, mean that an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria could happen at any time, and it could have disastrous effects. The country’s health officials were quick to quell any domestic or international panic about its treatment of the Ebola death.
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Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said in a statement that “All ports of entry into Nigeria including airports, seaports and land boarders are placed on red alert.” He added that “Ministry of Health specialists have been positioned in all entry points. Active surveillance has also been stepped up.”
Nigeria does not share a land border with any of the countries currently affected by the ongoing Ebola outbreak, but the advent of air travel and the region’s migration mean that infected people from those regions are a constant danger to the government.
Ebola outbreak continues taking toll
The World Health Organization, which has been monitoring the current Ebola outbreak, says that the current spate of infections has killed 663 people after infecting 1,048. The disease has previously been spotted in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Fears that it is spreading to Nigeria, which has a much higher population than its neighbors and ongoing civil strife, have existed since the outbreak became world news earlier this year.
The disease, which is known to kill about 90% of those infected, presents with fever, headache, diarrhea and joint pains that eventually lead to bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose. There is no cure for the virus, and it has never been known to present in an outbreak outside of Africa.
The cause of the disease, which is thought to be transmitted from animals to humans, is likely native to the continent, though there is no guarantee that the rest of the world is immune to transmission of the disease.