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Fifteen persons have been quarantined at the accident and emergency ward of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital after an Ebola Virus Disease scare in the hospital on Wednesday.

Ebola in UCTH: Hospital quarantines suspected doctor, nurses
Fifteen persons have been quarantined at the accident and emergency ward of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital after an Ebola Virus Disease scare in the hospital on Wednesday.

Those quarantined included nine nurses, one doctor, four health workers and one patient.

The EVD scare in the UCTH resulted from the death of a patient, who was said to have manifested the symptoms of the killer disease though the hospital authorities said the patient might have died of any Haemorrhagic fever.

The patient’s identity as of Thursday remained unknown.

Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee of the teaching hospital, Dr. Queeneth Kalu, said the blood sample of the patient had been sent for testing while identified contacts had been quarantined.

At a press briefing in Calabar on Thursday, Kalu said that the National Centre for Disease Control, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Cross River State Government as well as the Department of State Services had been informed of the development.

She said, “On Wednesday October 7, 2015, we managed a patient who presented with symptoms mimicking viral haemorrhagic fever. Due to the remote chance of it being contagious, we have sent the blood samples for testing and quarantined identified contacts.

“Further information will be made available as soon as we receive the results of the samples sent for analysis.”

Also at the briefing, Deputy Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, Dr. Edet Ikpi, said all necessary precautions as prescribed by the World Health Organisation had been taken to forestall any eventuality. He however said that there was no cause for panic by members of the public.

Ikpi urged the media to be cautious of what was being reported as no case of EVD had been established.

The Federal Government on Thursday confirmed that it had despatch a team of medical experts to the UCTH.

The Director, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, told The PUNCH that the team was already on ground in Calabar.

“The NCDC team is on ground and containment measures are already being put in place. The samples are being tested and we should know by tomorrow (today). The Federal Ministry of Health is sending additional support on Friday (today),” Nasidi said.

Our correspondent, who went round the hospital in Calabar on Thursday, learnt that those quarantined were mainly medical personnel and others within the ward moments before the patient died.

Medical workers at the UCTH, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, alleged that the isolated persons had not been given food to eat almost 24 hours after they were quarantined.

One of the workers said, “Those isolated have not been communicated with in the last 24 hours. The ward is a no go area for us at the moment. The isolated persons are even threatening to set themselves free if nothing was done soon. They are hungry and have not eaten.”

The hospital had on Wednesday shut its accident and emergency ward after the death of the unnamed patient that gave rise to the Ebola scare.

The deceased was said to have been brought to the hospital from the Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State on Tuesday with high body temperature, vomiting, stooling and bleeding from the nose.

A source said the patient died shortly after samples were taken from him for investigation.

The source said, “A patient was brought in on Tuesday vomiting, stooling and bleeding from the nose and mouth. He had a high temperature. It was suspected that he had a haemorrhagic fever but it has not been confirmed. He died around 2pm and his body has been quarantined while the ward was shut down.”

The first Ebola case was reported in Nigeria on July 20, 2014 when the late Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian, flew into Lagos.

Sawyer, who was without Ebola symptoms at the time of his admission at the First Consultants Medical Centre, Lagos, infected two doctors, a nurse and a ward aide.

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, a total of 19 Ebola cases were established in the country –15 in Lagos and four in Port Harcourt. Seven deaths were also recorded while the outbreak lasted. One of the dead was Dr. Stella Adedavoh, a senior consultant, who treated Sawyer. Her death on August 19, 2014 was the fifth.

The World Health Organisation formally certified Nigeria free 42 days after Ebola was reported in the country
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