Contrary to claims of an Ebola outbreak in Calabar, Cross River State, the Federal Ministry of Health has revealed that Nigeria is still a World Health Organization-certified Ebola free country.
Linus Awute, the permanent secretary of the ministry, while speaking to Premium Tines said there was no basis for rumours of yet another outbreak of the virus adding that: “We are also going to organize a press conference today. You know the news and rumours of Ebola in Calabar…”
“As usual, we decided to go ahead of the rumour, even though we can authoritatively say there’s no Ebola in Nigeria but this is a scientific thing, and you don’t just wake up and say that.”
An unnamed man died on Wednesday at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, after showing Ebola-like symptoms, according to officials of the hospital.
Already, 15 people – 1 doctor, 9 nurses, 4 health workers, and 1 patient – have been quarantined at the hospital.
According to Mr Linus Awute, the press conference which he said would calm public fear and anxiety, would be held after all necessary procedures had been undertaken.
“You have to be different from the public,” he said.
“So we have to take the scientific approach to such rumour, going on locus to Calabar and all that, taking samples, observing the required public health protocols and then going to our reference laboratories.”
The Cross River Government had earlier dismissed the report, saying it was awaiting results of blood samples of the patient who died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
Sunday Omini, Director of Public Health in the state Ministry of Health, said this on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
“We are aware of the situation and we have got preliminary reports from the hospital, and we are all awaiting the result of the blood samples.
“But judging from the information I have received so far, I am 90 per cent sure that it is not Ebola.
“However, we are on top of the situation, there is no cause for alarm,” he said.
Meanwhile, the management of UCTH said it had informed all relevant agencies about the development, including the National Centre for Disease Control, Federal Ministry of Health and Cross River government.
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