Ebola Kills Liberian in Lagos in Nigeria’s First Virus Case

A Liberian man died of Ebola in Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city, as Nigeria recorded its first case of the deadly hemorrhagic fever.

Local lab results tested positive for Ebola, Lagos state Health Commissioner Jide Idris told reporters in the city. Separate results from a World Health Organization facility in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, may arrive tonight, he said. A list is being compiled of all the people the patient was in contact with, he said.

“We’re assuming it’s Ebola until further notice,” Idris said. “The public should not panic. We’re trying as much as possible to take the measures that will contain the spread.”

The 40-year-old man, who arrived in Lagos from Liberia’s capital Monrovia on July 20, showed symptoms similar to those of Ebola when he arrived, Yewande Adeshina, Lagos state adviser on public health, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Ebola has killed more than 660 people in four West African nations since March in the worst outbreak of the deadly virus since it was first reported in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. The disease may spread for another three months, according to the World Health Organization. The latest outbreak of the disease, which has no cure or treatment, has also affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March. Lagos is Nigeria’s smallest and most densely packed state with a population of more than 20 million, according to local government estimates.

Early signs and symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, diarrhea and joint pains that may worsen to bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose before eventual death, according to the Lagos state Ministry of Health. Ebola kills as much as 90 percent of its victims.

“All ports of entry into Nigeria including airports, seaports and land boarders are placed on red alert,” Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said in a statement handed to reporters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, today. “Ministry of Health specialists have been positioned in all entry points. Active surveillance has also been stepped up.”

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