The World Health Organization announced Monday that the death toll has increased from 729 to 887 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the confirmed second case in his country is a doctor who had helped treat Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American man who died July 25 days after arriving in Nigeria from Liberia.
Test samples are pending for three other people who also treated Sawyer and now have shown symptoms of Ebola, he said. Authorities are trying to trace and quarantine others.
"Hopefully by the end of today we should have the results of their own tests," Chukwu said.
The emergence of a second case raises serious concerns about the infection control practices in Nigeria, and also raises the specter that more cases could emerge. It can take up to 21 days after exposure to the virus for symptoms to appear. They include fever, sore throat, muscle pains and headaches. Often nausea, vomiting and diarrhea follow, along with severe internal and external bleeding in advanced stages of the disease.
"This fits exactly with the pattern that we've seen in the past. Either someone gets sick and infects their relatives, or goes to a hospital and health workers get sick," said Gregory Hartl, World Health Organization spokesman in Geneva. "It's extremely unfortunate but it's not unexpected. This was a sick man getting off a plane and unfortunately, no one knew he had Ebola."
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