Ecowas official dies of Ebola

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IOL pic aug6 ebola info board in sierra leone Associated Press A public information board explains the symptoms of Ebola in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Picture: Youssouf Bah

Lagos -

An Ecowas official has died from Ebola in Nigeria, the West African regional bloc said on Tuesday, taking the total number of deaths in the country from the virus to three.

“The Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) Commission announces with deep regret the passing of a staff member of its Lagos Liaison Office, Mr Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, aged 36,” it said in a statement.

“Mr Abdulqudir, a protocol assistant, was among those who assisted the Liberian delegate to a regional meeting Mr Patrick Sawyer, who died from the Ebola Virus Disease at a Lagos hospital on 25th July 2014.”

The official had been quarantined since Sawyer was confirmed as having Ebola, which has killed more than 1 000 people since the start of the year, most of them in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“The Commission wishes to use this opportunity to express its gratitude to Nigerian government authorities and others who contributed to managing the late official while under quarantine,” it added.

“The Management of the Commission wishes to commiserate with Mr Abdulqudir's family and colleagues and prays for the repose of his soul.”

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday branded Sawyer a “madman” for bringing Ebola into Nigeria, despite his sister having died from it and that he reportedly displayed symptoms before getting on a flight to Lagos.

A nurse who treated him died of Ebola last week, while tests last weekend confirmed that another had also contracted the virus.

As of August 9, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were 13 probable or suspected cases of Ebola in Nigeria, including two deaths.

The Nigerian government had a lower figure of 10 confirmed cases, including two deaths, as of Monday, with more than a hundred people being monitored for signs of the disease.

Sawyer was to have attended an Ecowas meeting and Abdulqudir escorted him to hospital in the Ikoyi neighbourhood from Lagos airport, where he arrived on a flight from Monrovia via the Togolese capital, Lome.

It is understood he then returned to the Ecowas offices on nearby Lagos Island.

The offices have been closed and disinfected as a precaution while staff have been informed of preventative measures to take, including seeking prompt medical advice in the event of illness.

Ecowas on Monday warned that the outbreak threatened West Africa's social and economic progress and has sought the support of all member states and partners to tackle the spread of Ebola. - Sapa-AFP



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