Nigeria: Ebola epidemic prompts Nigeria to declare state of emergency

9th Aug 2014


Nigeria has declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of the Ebola virus. Hundreds have died since the outbreak started in Guinea in February.

Nigeria’s president declared a national emergency on Friday over the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed two lives in Africa’s most populous country.

“President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Friday in Abuja declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a national emergency,” his office said in a statement.

Abuja also called on the population to avoid large gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Religious and political groups, spiritual healing centers, families, associations and other bodies should … discourage gatherings and activities that may unwittingly promote close contact with infected persons or place others at risk,” said the presidency.

In addition, Jonathan warned against moving the corpses of people who had died from the virus.

At the same time, the president approved the immediate release of 1.9 billion naira (11.67 million euros) to fund emergency measures against Ebola.

New cases in Nigeria

Earlier this week, Nigeria confirmed five new cases of Ebola in the city of Lagos.

Elsewhere, Nigeria’s state oil company NNPC said on Friday announced it had shut down its own clinic in the Victoria Island commercial district in Lagos after a suspected Ebola case there.

“In the meantime, all contacts with this case are being traced and adequate precautionary measures instituted to contain the possible spread of the disease,” NNPC spokesman Ohi Alegbe said in a statement.

Global public health risk

The current Ebola outbreak is the largest and longest ever recorded for the disease.

There has been a death rate of around 50 percent and so far, it has killed at least 961 people, according to the World Health Organization.

The initial outbreak was in Guinea in February and it has since gone cross-border into Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a suspected cluster in Nigeria.

The WHO made an international appeal for donations on Friday as it declared the outbreak in West Africa to be an global public health emergency.

“Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own,” WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva.

Two American medical workers infected with Ebola in Liberia recently received an experimental drug and seem to be improving slightly, said the charity they work for.

There is no licensed drug or treatment for Ebola and no evidence in people that the experimental treatments work.

lw/kms (AP, Reuters)

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