Ebola raging in Sierra Leone, but apparently under control in Nigeria | Africa | DW | 02.10.2014
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Ebola raging in Sierra Leone, but apparently under control in Nigeria

A children's charity has warned that five people were being infected with Ebola every hour in Sierra Leone, but Nigeria and Senegal appear to have contained the disease.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is widely is expected to seek re-election in February 2015, has congratulated his government on containing the Ebola outbreak.

"This is how it should be: swift, effective and comprehensive action in defense of citizens," he told Nigerians in a national television broadcast marking the 54th anniversary of their country's independence from Britain.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that Nigeria appears to have contained the disease that has killed more from 3,000 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Eight Ebola deaths were recorded in Nigeria, but no new cases have been reported there for weeks. The first case in Nigeria was a traveler exposed to Ebola in Liberia, who flew by commercial airline to Lagos on July 20, where he was immediately transported to a private hospital with symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Nigeria Gesundheit Ebola David Daigle in Lagos

David Daigle (CDC) told DW that the Nigerians had done very well. 'Within one week they had their emergency operation center up'

He infected 19 people in Lagos, Africa's largest city of 21 million people, and in Port Harcourt, before dying in Nigeria on July 25.

According to the CDC, Nigerian health workers tracked 964 people who had made contact with the infected man and made some 18,500 face-to-face visits to monitor for symptoms of Ebola.

Praise for Nigeria from the CDC

David Daigle, who works for the CDC in Nigeria, told DW the Nigerians had done very well. 'Within one week they had their emergency operation center up. So it's been a very fast and robust reponse," he said.

The government postponed the resumption of school classes. Airports, office and restaurants introduced new hygiene rules. A public information campaign was launched to raise awareness of the disease.

Sierra Leone Ebola September 2014

Save the Children says demand for treatment beds is far outstripping supply in Sierra Leone

A DW correspondent in Lagos, Sam Olukoya, said Nigeria's two Ebola treatment centers were now free of patients and those who were being monitored for the virus had been discharged and sent home.

But even though no new Ebola cases have been reported in their country since August 31, Nigerians remain on high alert. One Lagos resident told DW that as the situation in Sierra Leone and Liberia becomes more critical "people who have this Ebola over there might want to come to Nigeria for treatment."

The first case in Senegal was confirmed on August 29 and involved a 21-year-old Guinean man who traveled from his home in Guinea to Dakar to visit family.

Senegalese health workers identified a total of 67 contacts of the patient. All were monitored for Ebola for 21 days with no further Ebola cases. The patient recovered and was released on September 19.

Another DW correspondent in Lagos, Adrian Kriesch, said Senegal and Nigeria have shown that a swift response and a relatively stable health system can prevent the worst from happening.

Ebola conference in Britain

Meanwhile Britain made a plea at the start of an international conference in London on Thursday for more international aid to defeat the Ebola outbreak. Foreign Secretary Philipp Hammond called for an increase in financial aid, medical expertise, transport and supplies.

The Save The Children Charity has warned that Ebola could spread like wildfire across Sierra Leone. The charity's chief executive Justin Forsyth said "the scale of the Ebola epidemic is devastating and growing every day, with five people infected every hour in Sierra Leone last week."

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