Nigeria nurse exposed to Ebola leaves Lagos
13 August 2014, 23:31
Abuja - A Lagos-based nurse who was exposed to Ebola travelled to the eastern part of Nigeria, violating a government directive to keep the virus from spreading outside the city, an official said Wednesday.
"One of the nurses that was involved with the treatment of the index case, unfortunately, disobeyed medical instructions and somehow travelled to Enugu," Information Minister Labaran Maku told journalists.
The so-called index case is Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian finance ministry employee who brought Ebola to Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa's largest city, on July 20. He died on July 25.
"Twenty-one persons in Enugu are being watched," including the nurse's husband and those who had direct contact with her, Maku said.
Nigeria has tried to locate everyone who interacted with Sawyer, including those on his flight, which originated in Liberia's capital Monrovia.
People who had contact with Sawyer were told to stay in Lagos to guard against any potential spread of the terrifying tropical disease outside the city.
No cases have been confirmed outside the megacity of more than 20 million people but an outbreak that stretched across the country, Africa's most populous, would put immense strain on Nigeria's weak healthcare system.
Maku said 198 people have been identified who may have had contact with Ebola, including those in Enugu, a major city and former capital of the east when Nigeria was split into three political regions.
The worst-ever outbreak of the tropical disease has killed more than 1,000 people since the start of the year in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria, the fourth country touched by the epidemic, has recorded 10 cases, including three deaths.
All of the affected countries have declared national emergencies over Ebola.