The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Nigeria Ebola free, after a 42 day- period with no new cases.
“Nigeria is now free of Ebola,” WHO Representative, Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in Abuja on Monday, October 20,2014 “The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated. This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained.”
Feared and palpable tension had gripped Nigerians and foreign visitors over the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that was imported to the country on Thursday July 23, 2014 by a Liberian diplomat, Patrick Sawyer.
Unfortunately, the four medical workers who attended to the index case (at First Consultant Clinic, Obalande, Lagos where Sawyer was admitted) died after contracting EVD through the ECOWAS staff.
In all, eight people died out of 20 confirmed cases in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, and the oil hub of Port Harcourt, while nearly 900 people were monitored for signs of the disease.
Interestingly, those who were promptly quarantined and kept in isolation centres in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Port Harcourt were weeks back declared Ebola free and discharged by the Federal Ministry of Health.
But despite this obvious progress, WHO stuck to its standard practice of waiting for 42 days before certifying a country totally Ebola free.
This cheering news, however came on Monday with WHO officials confirming Nigeria’s welcome status of an Ebola- free country.
Nigeria is the second country in West Africa to be declared Ebola free in the past week. On Friday, the UN health agency declared Senegal free of Ebola after it passed the 42 day- landmark.
More than 4,500 people have died and nearly 10,000 infected with the haemorrhagic fever, most of them in West Africa, since the start of the year.