A South African woman is being held in Lagos, Nigeria, for Ebola tests after showing symptoms of the virus. (Getty)

Nigeria holds SA national for Ebola tests

The Capetonian woman being held in Nigeria was working in Guinea and Sierra Leone, and is said to be showing potential symptoms of the Ebola virus.

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, flew in to Lagos airport from Morocco. She was being treated as a suspected case and was being taken to a Lagos Ebola treatment centre for tests to see whether she actually had the virus.

The traveller filled out a health questionnaire on her arrival at Lagos in which she acknowledged suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, both possible symptoms of the Ebola hemorrhagic virus.

About 2 300 people have died so far this year in the worst Ebola outbreak on record, which has mostly affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It has also reached Nigeria and Senegal because of sick travellers "importing" the disease. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a separate outbreak.

"This person has been in Guinea and Sierra Leone since April ... she has symptoms," Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh, director of Port Health Services at Lagos airport, told Reuters. The testing process was likely to last a few days.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, has instituted Ebola screening, including infra-red temperature scans and symptoms checks, at its airports and ports after a Liberian-American infected with the disease brought it to Lagos in July after flying from Liberia. His is one of seven deaths recorded so far out of 19 confirmed cases in Nigeria.

'Importation' of Ebola
"Nigeria cannot afford another 'importation' [of Ebola]," said Dr Aileen Marty, a professor of infectious diseases at Florida International University College of Medicine.

Marty is working with Nigerian health authorities, under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, to maintain port of entry Ebola checks across the African oil producer.

She told Reuters the fact that the South African traveller displayed several Ebola-like symptoms and had been in the high-risk zone justified her being treated as a suspected case. But such symptoms are also present in other diseases, such as malaria and cholera, hence the need for a specific Ebola test. – Reuters

Have something to say?
Tweet us on @Bhekisisa_MG or Facebook us on @Bhekisisa.Health

Ebola virus Nigeria