News / Health

Nigeria Confirms 10 Ebola Cases

  • A hearse carries the coffin of Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, the first European infected by a strain of Ebola, Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, Spain, Aug. 12, 2014.
  • Ivory Coast banned air travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on August 11. In this photo, people walk past health workers wearing protective masks and gloves at the Felix Houphouet Boigny international airport in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Aug. 12, 2014.
  • This high level isolation unit would be used if it becomes necessary to treat patients suffering from Ebola, at The Royal Free Hospital, in London, Aug. 12, 2014.
  • Senior Matron Breda Athan demonstrates how to get into the protective suit, as she poses for the cameras. The suit would be used if it becomes necessary to treat patients suffering from Ebola, at The Royal Free Hospital in London, Aug. 12, 2014.
  • A man's temperature is measured before he is allowed into a business center, as fear of the deadly Ebola virus spreads through the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • Health workers prescreen people for the deadly Ebola virus before they enter the Kenema Government Hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, August 9, 2014.
  • Worshippers leaving a church after prayers concerning the deadly Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • Workers inside a call center, where people can phone to state their concerns about the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • Volunteers prepare basic supplies, donated to the Ebola treatment center by American donors, at the Kenema Government Hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • A large billboard promotes the washing of hands to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 9, 2014.
Ebola in West Africa, Monday, August 11
Heather Murdock

Nigerian officials on Monday said one new Ebola case was diagnosed over the weekend, raising the country's total to 10 confirmed cases.

With the new Ebola case, the number of people who have come into contact with the disease has grown, and officials are now monitoring 177 people for signs of the disease. 

Since a Liberian American financial consultant flew into Lagos from Liberia about three weeks ago, the number of new cases has slowly grown, increasing the number of people who may have been exposed, officials said.

Ebola virus, rapid rise in spread of the disease, Aug. 7, 2014Ebola virus, rapid rise in spread of the disease, Aug. 7, 2014
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Ebola virus, rapid rise in spread of the disease, Aug. 7, 2014
Ebola virus, rapid rise in spread of the disease, Aug. 7, 2014

Over the weekend, another patient was diagnosed in apparent connection with the Liberian American man, said Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigerian Minster of Health.

“It was one of the nurses that were primary contacts when he got ill. We then brought her into isolation and we just tested her over the weekend and she tested positive," Chukwu said.

Ebola has killed nearly 1,000 people since the outbreak began early this year, with all but two deaths occurring in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Reports that experimental drugs have had success in treating American and European health workers and missionaries who contracted the disease in West Africa have prompted many Nigerians to demand access to the drugs in case it spreads further.

“Nigeria is actually, as of now, is reaching out to various laboratories, various governments, including the U.S.A. government to see how these untried ... drugs that seem to hold some hope could also be deployed in Nigeria. We’re in touch," Chukwu said.

The World Health Organization said it expects a vaccine to be developed by 2015, but currently there is no known cure.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Friday pledged $11.7 million dollars to try to stop the spread in Nigeria and $3.5 million to help other countries fight the disease.

Meanwhile, Nigerian officials continue a massive communications campaign to squash the equally massive rumor mill.

Rumors

People hear rumors that drinking salt water or eating a certain fruit will help prevent contracting Ebola. But local news has reported stories of people across Nigeria who have been sickened by drinking too much salt water or eating too much of a certain fruit.

On a daily basis, officials speak publicly about how to keep from getting Ebola, which is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, urine or sweat. It cannot be transmitted through air, the health minister said.

“If you are in close contact and someone who is suffering from it [Ebola], is sneezing or coughing into your face, you could also get it because the droplets can touch you. So that close contact makes it - that's why people say it’s not air borne - because you need that close contact," Chukwu said.

He urged people to wash their hands frequently, especially after touching another person and said, so far in Nigeria, the disease has not spread out of Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people that is often called the "heartbeat" of the Nigerian economy.

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