Ebola outbreak: Health workers death toll mounts in West Africa

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Health workers carry body of a man suspected of dying from Ebola virus. PTI
Health workers carry body of a man suspected of dying from Ebola virus. PTI

Lagos, Aug 31 (AFP): Nigeria today confirmed a fresh case of Ebola in a doctor whose husband died from the virus, adding to a growing list of health care workers in West Africa hit by the epidemic.

The woman’s husband was also a doctor and died in the city of Port Harcourt on August 22 after treating a patient who had contact with a Liberian man who brought the virus to Nigeria in late July.

She was in stable condition at an isolation unit in the financial capital, Lagos, said Sampson Parker, the health commissioner of Rivers State, of which Port Harcourt is the capital.

Nigeria’s medics have paid a heavy price in the outbreak, of the six people who have died from the disease in Africa’s most populous nation, two have been doctors and two others nurses.

Another doctor and a pharmacist were put into isolation at a unit outside Port Harcourt, Parker said.

“They have not been confirmed (as having Ebola) and we are awaiting the result of investigation,” he told a news conference.

The World Health Organization has voiced concern about the number of health care workers hit by the Ebola outbreak: more than 120 health workers have died and over 240 others infected so far.

The disease has killed a total of 1,552 people and infected 3,062 as of August 26, according to WHO figures.

In Guinea, where 430 people have died in all, nurses told AFP they lacked basic medical equipment to treat patients and had even bought items such as gloves and protective clothing themselves.

In Senegal, doctors were treating a young Guinean man who became the country’s first confirmed case of the disease. He was said to be in a “satisfactory” condition in hospital on Saturday.

The case lends credence to fears that the hemorrhagic fever, for which there is currently no vaccine, is spreading rapidly.

At current infection rates, it could take six to nine months and at least USD 490 million to bring under control, by which time over 20,000 people could be affected, the WHO has warned.

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