All suspected Ebola specimens received for analysis tested negative – LUTH

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The Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has said that all of the over 20 specimens received for analysis at its DNA molecular laboratory tested negative.

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This was disclosed by the hospital’s chief medical director, Akin Osibogun who spoke with BusinessDay.

Dr Osibogun said that the hospital, which was the first to detect, isolate and confirm the virus from the late Sawyer, had put in place isolation and barrier mechanisms to guard against any eventual spread of the disease.

He also noted that the hospital had the requisite technology to isolate the virus and that the Federal and Lagos state ministries of health had continued their health education campaigns to Nigerians on protection against exposure to the virus.

“More specimens are still being collected and analysis carried out on them, in line with best international practice. Nigerians are implored to be vigilant and ensure improved personal and environmental hygiene and to report any suspected case to the nearest medical facility. Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent,” Osibogun said.

In the meantime, fears that the West African Ebola outbreak could spread to other continents are growing, with European and Asian countries on alert, as a leading medical charity warns that the epidemic is out of control.

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would only get worse, and warned there was no overarching strategy to handle the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

US Christian Charity Samaritan’s Purse was temporarily withdrawing its non-essential staff from Liberia, it said, citing regional “instability and ongoing security issues”.

Hong Kong announced quarantine measures for suspected cases, although one woman arriving from Africa with possible symptoms tested negative, while the EU said it was ready to deal with the threat. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has held talks with global health officials on potential measures to halt the spread of the disease.

In Britain, where one person has tested negative for the disease, foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said it was regarded as “a very serious threat”.

An emergency meeting had decided that the best approach was to provide “additional resources to deal with the disease at source” in West Africa, he added.

Ebola can kill victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

Fifty-seven more deaths from the Ebola epidemic spreading alarm in West Africa have pushed the overall fatality toll from the outbreak to 729, the World Health Organisation said yesterday. The 57 deaths were recorded between Thursday and Sunday last week in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the UN health agency said in a statement.

It added that 122 new cases were detected over the four days, taking the total number of confirmed and likely infected cases to 1,323.

Bart Janssens, MSF’s director of operations, warned that governments and global bodies had no “overarching view” of how to tackle the outbreak. “This epidemic is unprecedented, absolutely out of control and the situation can only get worse, because it is still spreading, above all in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in some very important hotspots,” he said.

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