- Says infected Nigerian in US visited Lagos February
By Martins Ifijeh
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has confirmed a second case of Coronavirus (officially known as COVID-19) in Nigeria.
He also said the Nigerian who tested positive to the disease in Washington DC was in Nigeria February, but that it was unlikely he got infected in the country.
In a statement made available to THISDAY Monday, Ehanire said the patient who tested positive Sunday to the virus, was an Ogun State contact of the index case, and that he had no significant symptom.
He said: “This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria to two. The newly confirmed case in Nigeria is not a new importation, but a contact of the index case, who has since been in isolation and is under clinical follow up. The new case presently does not have any clinical symptoms, but he is comfortable and in care at Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos.
“We have diligently and conscientiously pursued contact tracing and monitoring of people who met with the index Italian patient.”
The minister had last week said 40 persons in Ogun and 20 in Lagos who had contact with the index Italian patient were under isolation.
He said those monitored had remained free of any symptoms but in line with the ministry’s practice, it decided to test these persons for possible presence of Coronavirus, adding that one unfortunately tested positive yesterday.
“Since beginning of the outbreak in China and subsequent spread to other countries, one of the important response strategies at the containment stage, has been to identify all contacts, ensure their strict isolation and to follow up daily with checks for any symptoms of the disease.
“Following recent experience from other countries and evidence from newly published studies on non-symptomatic infections, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, advised that samples should be taken from all contacts of the Index case for testing. It is in this process that this new case was detected.
“Recent studies in China have shown that increased surveillance, self-isolation and in particular, contact tracing do reduce risk of spread, because further opportunities for transmission of the virus by the infected patient in the community are limited.”
He emphasized that all other contacts of the index case in Ogun and Lagos will remain in isolation and testing will be carried out on those not yet tested, including some in other states.
Ehanire said: “On the case reported in the US of Nigerian origin, we are in touch with colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and here in Abuja. The case visited Lagos in February 2020. However, given the timelines between the time he was in Nigeria briefly and when he became ill, the likelihood that he was infected in Lagos is very low.
“We are assuring Nigerians of our commitment to do all needed to control spread of this outbreak. Since the first case was confirmed in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, the National Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) in Abuja, continues to work closely with Lagos and Ogun State EOCs to coordinate response activities.”