An #Ebola tweet without a link mentioned a 15-year-old dying of Ebola in Abuja, Nigeria. A quick check turned up this March 26 story in Leadership: Undergraduate, 15, Dies Of Ebola Virus From Neighbour’s Monkey. Excerpt and then a comment:
A 15-year-old Medicine undergraduate of Bingham University, Nasarawa State, Temi Ilesanmi has died after she allegedly got infected with the Ebola Virus from a monkey belonging to a neighbour at her parent’s residence at Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja.
The distraught father of the deceased, Mr. Olu Ilesanmi, a former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, in a telephone correspondence described his late daughter as the star of the family.
“In her WAEC examination last year, she made 6 As and 3 Bs. She was the star of the family – bold, brilliant and beautiful! If I live a thousand years, daddy will cry for her every single say,” he said.
A family source, Mrs Olufunke Osunkoya, who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Abuja, yesterday, on behalf of the family, said trouble started early this month when the late Temi became afflicted with a strange kind of fever that defied treatment at the Federal Staff Hospital, Garki Hospital and National Hospital, all in Abuja.
She said the deceased who was secreting blood from her nose and mouth as well as on her phlegm when she coughs or sneezes was later referred to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, where doctors diagnosed Ebola Haemorrhage Fever and she was later transferred to Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.
Osunkoya said it was at Irrua that doctors queried if the deceased had been to the zoo recently or had come in contact with animals such as monkeys and were informed that a neighbour at her residence had a monkey as pet.
She said based on doctors’ advice, the deceased family had written to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), requesting that the monkey which may not have been immunised be removed from the neighbourhood to prevent further spread of the virus.
The family source said to the dismay of all, the neighbour, a woman, whose name was yet to be ascertained, resisted every attempt made by AEPB officials to serve an abatement notice on the residence even as she put up stiff resistance when at the expiration of the abatement notice, the officials came to the house to remove the animal.
However, when LEADERSHIP contacted the AEPB for comments over the matter, the Head of Information and Outreach Unit of the board, Mr. Joe Ukairo, expressed shock over the situation, saying he had not been briefed of the development.
If the doctors really did confirm Ebola in this case, they should have notified WHO instantly, and the Nigerian federal government (and media) should have gone to battle stations. Instead, the story is being played as a neighbourhood squabble.
So I'll treat this report with suspicion until real confirmation comes along. And if it does, West Africa will have a much bigger problem on its hands than it does now.