Ebola scare: Security men foil attempt to remove corpse from Anambra hospital

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 3 August 2014 | 4,609 times

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Security men deployed by the Anambra State Government have foiled an attempt to remove a corpse brought home from Liberia, which the government ordered detained in a hospital mortuary until tests are carried out by competent professionals to find out if the man died from Ebola disease.

The state had been thrown into panic on Thursday following the news of the arrival of the body from Liberia, a country where Ebola is presently on rampage. Unwilling to take any chances, the state government has also detained other corpses in the mortuary while staff of the hospital located in Nkwelle Ezunaka in Oyi Local Government Area, including those not on duty, have been quarantined.

News Express learnt that a family member of the deceased man whose body was brought in from Liberia (names withheld) attempted to remove the body very early yesterday but was stopped by security operatives following directives from the state government.

As at the time of filling this report, government officials were still trying to locate the man, who resides in a nearby community, to know the level of his contact with his late brother’s corpse when it was brought to Nigeria, as well as those he had made contact with since the corpse was deposited in the mortuary.

The state government has also begun the mapping of the entire area and commenced proactive action to ensure that very minimal contact was made with the corpses, pending when officials of the Federal Ministry of Health arrive and conduct tests. The health team led by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Josephat Akabuike, was awaiting the arrival of the officials yesterday, even as the hospital has been cordoned off.

News Express gathered that all the patients in the hospital have been transferred to a government-owned General Hospital where necessary tests would also be conducted on them as a precautionary measure.

The state government has also contacted officials of the Gambian airline that flew the corpse to Lagos to find out the condition on which it was brought to Nigeria and those who handled the corpse from the hospital to the airport.

According to a source, the fact that the man died at the JFK Hospital in Liberia, an acclaimed hospital, had allayed fears that he might have died of Ebola disease as the argument was that if he died of the disease, his body would not have been allowed to be flown out just like that.

“While we are hoping that he might not have died of Ebola disease, we are taking all the measures to ensure the safety of everybody,” the source told News Express.

“Efforts,” according to the source, “are being made to get in touch with the airline, those that brought the body from Lagos to Anambra, those that received it in Anambra before it was deposited in the mortuary and those that prepared it (if at all) before it was deposited in the mortuary.

“Also, there is need to know the movement of his brother who tried to remove the body yesterday since the corpse was brought into the state and those he had come in contact with.”

•Photo, courtesy of rt.com, shows doctors ready for an Ebola case.

Source: News Express

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