Doctor dies of Ebola in Nigeria’s oil hub Port Harcourt

Medical staff take a blood sample from a suspected Ebola patient at the government hospital in Kenema, July 10, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Tommy Trenchard

(Reuters) – A doctor in Nigeria’s oil hub of Port Harcourt has died from Ebola after treating a contact of a Liberian-American man who was the first recorded case of the virus in Africa’s most populous country, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said in a statement that the doctor fell ill after treating a patient who was a contact of Patrick Sawyer, who died from Ebola in Lagos after flying in from Liberia last month.

The death in Port Harcourt brings the number of Ebola fatalities in Nigeria to 6, all of whom were direct or indirect contacts of Sawyer.

The man who infected the doctor in Port Harcourt had “evaded our surveillance team in the last week of July” in Lagos, Chukwu said. He has since recovered and has been discharged after testing negative for the virus.

However, a World Health Organisation official told journalists in Geneva on Thursday that it was not confirmed that the doctor died of Ebola and that a WHO team flew out two days ago to Port Harcourt to assess the case.

The total number of recorded Ebola cases in Nigeria had risen by two to 15, Chukwu said, the other one being the wife of the deceased doctor. She was showing Ebola symptoms and test results were being awaited, he said…

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