A doctor in the Nigerian city of Lagos who treated a Liberian victim of Ebola has contracted the virus, the second confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city, authorities said.
Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, who confirmed the positive test, said on Monday that 70 other people believed to have come into contact with the Liberian were being monitored, with eight placed in quarantine including three who were “symptomatic.”
The confirmed case “is one of the doctors who attended to the Liberian Ebola patient who died,” Chukwu told journalists.
A quarantine unit has been set up in Lagos and blood tests from the three people displaying Ebola-like symptoms have been sent for testing, with results expected later on Monday, the minister said.
Patrick Sawyer, who worked for Liberia’s finance ministry, contracted the virus from his sister before travelling to Lagos for a meeting of west African officials.
He landed in Lagos on July 20 from Monrovia after switching planes in Togo’s capital Lome.
He was visibly sick upon arrival and taken directly to the First Consultants hospital in the upmarket Lagos neighbourhood of Ikoyi. He died in quarantine on July 25.
The hospital was closed indefinitely last week.
The second confirmed case in Nigeria is the latest in the deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak, which has infected 1,603 people and left 887 dead according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The other cases are spread across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Nigeria, the latest country to import the disease, has had up to four cases, of which three are classed as ‘probable’ Ebola and one as ‘suspected’, WHO said in a statement on Monday.
International development banks on Monday committed $260 million in emergency loans for three West African countries hit by the deadly Ebola virus as nearly 50 African leaders gathered in Washington for a US-hosted summit focusing on the region.
The World Bank said it would provide as much as $200 million in emergency funding to help Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.
“The international community needs to act fast to contain and stop this Ebola outbreak,” he added.
African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka told Reuters that his bank would immediately disburse funds to the three countries, whose health systems and resources have been strained by the outbreak.
Bank officials said the funding was close to $60 million. The funding is in response to a $100 million plan launched by the World Health Organization last week to tackle the epidemic. WHO chief Margaret Chan said on Friday that Ebola was outpacing efforts to contain it and warned of “catastrophic” consequences if the situation deteriorated.