US steps up response to Ebola in Nigeria
United States health authorities said Friday they are sending extra personnel and resources to Nigeria, which has declared a national emergency as it battles a deadly outbreak of Ebola for the first time.
“We are starting to ramp up our staffing in Lagos,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Tom Skinner told AFP.
“We are really concerned about Lagos and the potential for spread there, given the fact that Lagos — and Nigeria for that matter — has never seen Ebola.”
Nigeria became the fourth West African country involved in the largest Ebola outbreak in history when a dual US-Liberian citizen who was infected with Ebola traveled by plane to Lagos on July 20. He died five days later.
Eight people who came in contact with him have been diagnosed with Ebola, and two have died.
Ebola has killed 932 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria since March, and has infected more than 1,700 according to the World Health Organization.
Experts say Ebola is out of control in West Africa, and the WHO on Friday declared the epidemic an international health emergency and appealed for global aid.
In Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus “a national emergency,” his office said in a statement.
He urged people to avoid large gatherings, and approved the release of $11.6 million to fund measures against the spread of the virus, including setting up isolation centers and increasing screening at borders.
Skinner said CDC personnel are in all affected countries, and that several US personnel already on the ground in Nigeria.