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. 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.
Secretary John Kerry with President Goodluck Jonathan
“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. The incubation period of Ebola is 21 days, meaning it can take that long between initial exposure to the virus and the appearance of symptoms.
People become contagious as soon as they begin exhibiting symptoms, which include fever, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes bleeding. Ebola first emerged in 1976, and there are no treatments or vaccines on the market. A pair of American missionaries who fell ill with Ebola while treating patients in Liberia were given an experimental serum. Their health has improved, though experts say it is unclear if the medication is the reason.