The Punch newspaper has a report from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, of the alleged Ebola virus infection of a student who came in contact with the Port Harcourt doctor, Iyke Enemuo, who died of the disease.
According to the report:
Fear gripped students, parents and staff of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife on Tuesday over a report that a patient on admission at the OAU Health Centre was a suspected Ebola Virus Disease victim.
Though the management of the school initially denied the development but the Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Temitope Ilori, said the sick student had confessed having contact with the late Port Harcourt doctor, Iyke Enemuo, who died of the EVD after he secretly treated an infected ECOWAS diplomat, Olu-Ibukun Koye, in a hotel in the Rivers State capital.
The commissioner said the female student had been put in the isolation ward.
Ilori said, “I was told that a student of the OAU who had contact with the doctor who died of the Ebola virus in Port Harcourt walked into the health centre when she was sick.
“She was said to have told doctors at the health centre that she had contact with the Port Harcourt doctor and was put under surveillance but she said she tested negative that time.
“Now she returned to the OAU to continue with her studies and was sick. She was said to have walked to the health centre and told them everything about her contact with the doctor.
“Her blood sample has been taken for another test in Lagos and we are awaiting the result. We pray she is not positive but she has been isolated at the health centre.”
When one of our correspondents visited the hospital on Tuesday, it was observed that health officials were disinfecting the surroundings of the medical centre and more attention was paid to places where patients sit before being attended to.
It was also learnt that top officials of the hospital held an emergency meeting after testing the suspected patient, who was said to have been on admission in the hospital since Monday.
Before the confirmation by the commissioner, the Public Relations Officer of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile Ife, Mr. Olu Bello, had denied the report that a suspected Ebola virus patient had been admitted to the hospital.
Bello said he also heard that a student of the OAU, who returned from Port Harcourt, was down with the virus but he said the hospital did not have any case of Ebola.
“There is no case of Ebola at the OAUTHC. Nothing like that; I also heard something like that but such rumour has been causing unnecessary tension among the people but it is not true.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the university would make its findings known to the public later Tuesday night.
“It is a suspicion; we don’t know yet. We will make our position on it known tonight. We are still working; we are in the office now,” he told one of our correspondents on the phone.
Olanrewaju later told The Punch that the ailing student had been moved to Lagos.
Though, medical officials in the hospital had denied that the said student tested positive to the Ebola virus, they confirmed that the Federal Government Emergency Ebola Team had been contacted.
One of the officials, who preferred not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak, said the suspected patient would be made to go through an intensive examination on Wednesday (today) by the EVD team from Lagos.
Another official claimed that the symptoms showed by the student “are not too different from fever”.
The official said, “A patient was brought to the health centre and due to the fact that she hails from Port Harcourt there were fears that it might be Ebola. We have carried out tests on the victim and found that she is suffering from a likely fever. Not satisfied, we pressed further by holding an emergency meeting which finished five minutes ago.”
When asked why the hospital was disinfecting its surroundings, another staff said, “We are only taking preventive measures. To be 100 per cent satisfied, we have sent a letter to the Ebola Emergency Team in Lagos and the team should arrive by tomorrow (today).”
To ensure calmness in the institution, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bamitale Omole, urged students to desist from spreading rumours about EVD.
He spoke during the 52nd matriculation ceremony for 5,608 newly-admitted students of OAU on Tuesday.
He said, “A current issue of concern to us as an institution, which is also related to the judicious use of the facilities in the halls of residence, is maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene to halt the spread of EVD. The virus, which is not airborne, spreads through bodily fluids such as blood, sweat, urine, saliva and vomit. We should all co-operate to halt the spread of this disease by arming ourselves with adequate information about the disease and avoid spreading false rumours that certainly can cause fear and panic.
“A committee of experts had been set up in the university and it will step up its sensitisation and enlightenment campaign about the symptoms, modes of transmission and preventive measures of the disease.”