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%PM, %20 %656 %2014 %14:%Aug

Nigerians Cause Ebola Scare In Germany and Vietnam

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About 40 police officers and 20 firefighters isolated 600 people at a Berlin employment office building after a Nigerian woman took ill and showed symptoms of an infectious disease which medical personnel suspected could have been Ebola.

Dozens of other visitors and staff at the employment center were also stopped from leaving for several hours as emergency services sealed off part of the street.

It was reported that the woman fainted, and that according to her, she had recently been in contact with people infected with Ebola. 

Several other people who had been with the thirty year old woman inside the building in the north eastern district of Prenzlauer Berg were later also taken to the hospital for testing.

Rolf Erbe, Spokesman for Berlin Fire Department said that because the patient came from "an area infected by a highly contagious disease, we took these precautions", saying that the testing in the city's Charite hospital would take some time.

The spokesman also added that "the patient was isolated inside the ambulance, the staff took appropriate measures. An emergency medic, the public health officer, arrived and the necessary precautions were taken".

The hospital testing the Nigerian woman however said that it is unlikely that she has Ebola.

Manuela Zingl, a spokeswoman for the Berlin Charite hospital said in a statement that "the doctors assume an infectious gastrointestinal illness", adding that the hospital still has to carry out blood tests to rule out the deadly virus that has claimed over a thousand lives in an outbreak across West Africa.

The Berlin Senate Department for Health said in a statement that, while the feverish woman returned from Africa eight days before her collapse, she had not been in an Ebola-infected area.

Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Minister of Health in Nigeria insisted yesterday that there are only three Ebola-positive cases in Nigeria, after the discharge of five people who came down with the virus after having primary contact with the late American-Liberian Patrick Sawyer. He added that all the cases in Nigeria are from primary contact with Sawyer.

"Nigeria as at today (yesterday) discharged some of those who tested positive to the Ebola virus disease", he told a one-day National Youth and Student Leaders Sensitization Lecture on Ebola Prevention and Management organised in Abuja.

"We have only three Nigerians who have Ebola virus and they are under treatment", he said.

The minister also added that of the 21 secondary contacts with Sawyer, only 6 are under observation.

"Ebola gave us the opportunities to re-build our public health properly, to police our borders, for our health workers to protect themselves properly", he said, adding that the test for the virus has also revealed more HIV patients, as they come out openly to say that they have HIV and not Ebola.

"Even though we have lost some patriots, their death will not be in vain", the minister promised.

The Nigerian Federal Government continues to assure Nigerians of its efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

The rapid security deployment around the job center in Germany, and the decision to seal off the building underline the alertness of emergency services in Europe, as the weeks-old outbreak of Ebola in western Africa has yet to be contained. The incidence that occurred on Tuesday came less than a week after the foreign ministry advised Germans to leave several West African countries in the grip of the Ebola outbreak.

Two Nigerians at Vietnam's International Airport on arrival and three students have been isolated for the next 21 days in the Asian country.

The two Nigerians on a Qatar Airways flight to Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport were taken to a city hospital after being found to have flu-like symptoms that could be tied to the Ebola virus.

The chief of the Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine Department in Vietnam, Tran Dac Phu, said the two passengers departed on Monday from Nigeria on the QR964 flight. They took seats 25B and 26D.

The two Nigerians were taken to the quarantined area of the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Diseases Hospital to stay indoors under a 21-day fever watch, and the Preventive Health Department, the city's Pasteur Institute, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s office and the U.S Diseases Control Center in Vietnam, has sent blood samples taken from the Nigerians further testing.

The Health Ministry also asked the passengers who sat near the two Nigerians on that flight to go to the nearest hospitals or call the number 0989 671 115 to get guidance on preventive measures.

Similarly, three Nigerian students are being watched by the Hanoi health authorities, for flu-like symptoms after they arrived in Vietnam between July 31 and August 8 to attend a college in the Vietnamese capital.

The students who had been asked by the health authorities to stay indoors under a 21-day fever watch were reported to have remained healthy, and underwent daily medical checkups. They were also asked to inform health officers as soon as they have symptoms of fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and hemorrhage.

No Ebola case has been detected in Vietnam so far.

The chief of the Preventive Medicine Department said that Vietnam's Ministry of Health is planning to buy 10,000 protective outfits for health officers facing high risks of Ebola-virus infection while on duty.

The number of cases in West Africa's Ebola outbreak this year have risen to 2,240, including 1,229 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation yesterday, reporting the toll in four countries, including Nigeria.

The WHO said that it was working on the U.N's Food Program, to ensure food delivery to one million people living in Ebola quarantine zones in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

"Food has been delivered to hospitalized patients and people under quarantine who are not able to leave their homes to purchase food", the WHO said in a statement, adding that providing regular food supplies is a potent means of limiting unnecessary movement.

The WFP (World Food Program) is stepping up emergency food deliveries to the quarantined areas, which include severely affected cities, such as Gueckedou in Guinea, Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone, and Foya in Liberia.

While Nigeria has been able to contain the virus, Liberia and Sierra Leone are struggling to stop the spread among their populations.

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Godwin Ibe

Medical Doctor (GP), IT professional, Web Designer, CELTA Certified Teacher of English, Economist and International Trade Marketer.
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