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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

ECOWAS Staff Dies Of Ebola Virus In Nigeria

Health workers attending to a patient of Ebola virus.

Nigeria has recorded its third number of deaths from the Ebola virus after an ECOWAS official was reported to have died from the virus in the country. The West African regional bloc made the below announcement on Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, in an official statement. 

“The ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Commission announces with deep regret the passing of a staff member of its Lagos Liaison Office, Mr Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, aged 36,” it said in a statement.

“Mr Abdulqudir, a protocol assistant, was among those who assisted the Liberian delegate to a regional meeting Mr Patrick Sawyer, who died from the Ebola Virus Disease at a Lagos hospital on 25th July 2014.”

It was gathered that the late ECOWAS official had been quarantined since Sawyer was confirmed as having Ebola, which has killed more than 1,000 people since the beginning of the year, most of them in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“The Commission wishes to use this opportunity to express its gratitude to Nigerian government authorities and others who contributed to managing the late official while under quarantine,” it added. “The Management of the Commission wishes to commiserate with Mr Abdulqudir’s family and colleagues and prays for the repose of his soul.”

It would be recalled that Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday branded Sawyer a ''crazyman" for bringing Ebola into Nigeria, despite his sister having died from it and that he reportedly displayed symptoms before getting on a flight to Lagos.

Also, a nurse who treated the late Sawyer died of Ebola in Lagos, while tests last weekend confirmed that another nurse had also contracted the virus. As of August 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were 13 probable or suspected cases of Ebola in Nigeria, including two deaths.
The Nigerian Ministry of Health had stated last week that there were 10 confirmed cases of Ebola virus in Nigeria, with more than a hundred people being monitored for signs of the disease.

According to reports, the late Sawyer was in Nigeria to have attend an ECOWAS meeting and Abdulqudir escorted him to hospital in the Ikoyi neighbourhood from Lagos airport, where he arrived on a flight from Monrovia via the Togolese capital, Lome. It is understood he then returned to the ECOWAS offices on nearby Lagos Island.

Investigation revealed that the offices have been closed and disinfected as a precaution while staff have been informed of preventative measures to take, including seeking prompt medical advice in the event of illness.

ECOWAS had on Monday, 11 August, 2014, stated that the Ebola virus outbreak threatened West Africa’s social and economic progress and sought the support of all member states and partners to tackle the spread of Ebola.

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