Nigerian ECOWAS Official Is Country’s Third Ebola Death

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, a 36-year-old official with the Economic Community of West African States, died of Ebola in Nigeria, bringing the death toll to three in the continent’s largest city, Lagos, Bloomberg reports.

A protocol assistant at ECOWAS, Abdulqudir was in quarantine after helping Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer get to a regional meeting, according to a statement on the ECOWAS website, Bloomberg reports.

Sawyer died of Ebola on July 25, five days after showing symptoms of the virus at the Lagos airport in the country’s first reported case of the disease. A nurse who came into contact with Sawyer also died. Sawyer took several flights and showed symptoms of the viral disease, triggering several airlines to cancel flights to some of the worst-hit Ebola areas and a hunt for people with whom he came in contact.

Aniefiok Moses, head of epidemic control for the Nigerian Federal Health Ministry, confirmed Abdulqudir’s death and said 10 people are being treated for the disease in Nigeria.

Daniel Nwomeh, a spokesman for Nigeria’s federal health ministry, didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone or immediately respond to a text message seeking comment, Bloomberg reports.

Ebola cases in Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous country of 170 million and its largest economy, have sparked concern about Ebola spreading beyond the worst-hit West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The current outbreak has infected 1,848 people and killed 1,013 as of Aug. 9, according to the World Health Organization’s latest data, Bloomberg reports.

Ebola has a 10 percent survival rate historically. About 40 percent of patients have survived the current outbreak.

ECOWAS disinfected its Lagos office “to safeguard the health, safety and security of staff members, and will continue to monitor the situation,” the statement said.