Nigeria's Sixth Ebola Victim Succumbs in Port Harcourt
Nigeria on Thursday reported its first Ebola death outside the capital region of Lagos, in the southern city of Port Harcourt, taking the total death toll to six in Africa's most populous country.
Media reports quoted Nigeria's health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, who said the victim was a doctor who had died last Friday after contracting the virus from a patient who in turn came in contact with Liberian civil servant Patrick Sawyer. Infections in Nigeria are attributed to Sawyer who died in Lagos last month after arriving from Liberia.
Bloomberg quoted Manji Cheto, vice-president at a corporate advisory company saying the latest death is a blow to Nigeria's efforts to contain the virus.
"It raises questions about the credibility of the health minister, who has recently been facing domestic criticism for his ostensible self-congratulatory stance and eagerness to declare the country Ebola-free," he said.
Reuters reported Chukwu saying the man who infected the latest victim had evaded surveillance in July last week.
"He evaded our surveillance team in the last week of July in Lagos. He has since recovered and has been discharged after testing negative for the virus," Chukwu said.
Contrastingly, the health minister has maintained that his country was doing well in the fight against outbreak.
"The problem is not over. Nigeria is doing well on containment, all the disease in Nigeria were all traced to Patrick Sawyer," Chukwu was quoted saying by Time.
Meanwhile, the deceased doctor's wife has been quarantined as she was reportedly dis-playing Ebola symptoms. Seventy others who contacted the deceased in Port Harcourt, are also being monitored.
The virus has killed 1,552 people mostly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. World Health Organization estimates that 3,069 people have been infected but on Thursday the UN health agency forecasted the number of afflictions could exceed 20,000.