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Nigerian Ebola patient discharged

Updated: 2014-08-18 07:27
By Agencies in Lagos, Nigeria, and Monrovia, Liberia (China Daily)

Liberia gives experimental vaccine to three African doctors with virus

The first Nigerian confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus was discharged after a full recovery, the government said late on Saturday.

Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu told reporters in Lagos, Nigeria's economic hub, that the patient, a female doctor, was discharged after conclusive discharge protocols.

Five other Ebola patients have almost fully recovered, Chukwu said, adding that the released Ebola patient had attended to the Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who brought the disease to Nigeria on July 20. Sawyer died on July 25.

Chukwu said Nigeria had recorded 12 confirmed cases, four of which have resulted in death, while 189 people are under surveillance in Lagos, and six in the southeast state of Enugu.

The minister said all those under surveillance were secondary contacts, noting that all the patients under treatment have now moved to the new 40-bed isolated ward provided by the Lagos state government.

The minister also said the Nanosilver drug, which was made available to the Emergency Operations Center in Lagos on Thursday, did not meet basic research requirements.

Healthcare workers in Liberia have administered three doses of the rare, experimental drug ZMapp to three doctors with Ebola, two medical workers in Monrovia told Reuters.

Liberia, the West African country with the highest death toll from the tropical virus at 413, received three doses of the rare serum in a special consignment this week.

Drs Zukunis Ireland and Abraham Borbor from Liberia and Dr Aroh Cosmos Izchukwu from Nigeria are the first Africans to receive the treatment.

The drug has already been administered to two American healthcare workers and a Spanish priest, all previously working in Liberian hospitals.

The US healthcare workers' health has since improved, but the Spanish priest died.

"Three doctors are currently being administered treatment with the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp. Treatment began on Thursday evening," said Dr Billy Johnson, chief medical officer of John F. Kennedy Medical Centre in Monrovia where two of the doctors served before contracting the deadly virus.

A second healthcare worker at the Elwa center that is housing the sick doctors confirmed that they were on their third day of a six-day ZMapp treatment.

The UN health agency said that only 10 to 12 doses of the drug have been made, and this raises difficult ethical questions about who should get priority access.

The apparent improvement in the two US healthcare workers' condition has stoked popular pressure to make the drug available to Africans.

There is currently no vaccine against the highly contagious disease, and other forms of treatment are only designed to relieve symptoms such as fever, vomiting and hemorrhaging. Up to 90 percent of victims die - a fatality rate so high that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies the illness as a Category A "bioterrorism agent" - although the current outbreak fatality rate is near 60 percent.

Nigerian Ebola patient discharged

A girls suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus has her temperature checked at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on Saturday. Kenema hospital estimates that 15 of their staff have died treating ebola patients, and at least 12 of them were nurses. Carl De Souza / Agence France-Presse

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