A Nigerian nurse became the second person to die of the Ebola virus in Africa’s most populous nation, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said, while officials suspected a patient died of the disease in Saudi Arabia.
The Nigerian health worker, who died yesterday, had helped treat Liberian Patrick Sawyer, who fell ill from the virus after arriving on a flight to Lagos, the commercial capital. He was taken to a hospital in the city and died five days later on July 25.
Nigeria has five other confirmed cases of Ebola in Lagos, a city of about 20 million people, Chukwu said in a statement handed to reporters today in Abuja, the capital of Africa’s biggest economy.
The health ministry has written to the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to request access to an experimental treatment which has been used on two Americans.
“We are getting reports that the experimental drug seems to be useful,” Chukwu told reporters at a separate briefing in Abuja. “We are making efforts to get the drug,” he said.
Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly, American aid workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia, have both been given doses of the treatment, developed by San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.