ABUJA (Reuters) - A member of staff of the West African regional body Ecowas has become the third person in Nigeria to die of Ebola fever, Ecowas said on Wednesday. Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, 36, a protocol assistant, had traveled to an Ecowas function in Nigeria with Liberian Patrick Sawyer, the man who brought Ebola to Nigeria last month. Abdulqudir later fell ill and was placed under quarantine.
The country has reported eight cases of Ebola since Sawyer arrived on July 20.
“The Commission wishes to reassure staff of all Community institutions all over the entire region that it is taking all necessary steps to guarantee their health and safety,” Ecowas said in a statement.
Separately, a nurse with Ebola, which she caught from Sawyer, skipped quarantine in Lagos and headed to her home in the southeastern city of Enugu, where she had contact with 20 other people, the government said on Wednesday.
Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu confirmed that the nurse was one of 10 confirmed Ebola cases in Nigeria.
Earlier, information Minister Labaran Maku had only said that she was under quarantine. He added that her 20 contacts were all under surveillance in Enugu, bringing the total number being watched in the country to 189. Her action highlights the risk of an outbreak in Lagos, a mega city of 21 million people, the majority of whose inhabitants are migrants from other parts of the country and other West African countries.
“One of the nurses that was involved with the treatment of the index case, unfortunately, disobeyed medical instructions and somehow traveled to Enugu,” Maku told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are calling on citizens to cooperate. If health workers say you have had contact with A,B,C, don’t move to anywhere, respect that judgment.”
The disease has killed more than 1,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola, and the World Health Organization has called it an international emergency
Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Felix Onuah; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Andrew Roche