OAU STUDENT QUARANTINED, CONFESSES CONTACT WITH ENEMUO
Fear gripped students, parents and staff of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
on Tuesday over a report that a patient on admission at the OAU Health Centre
was a suspected Ebola Virus Disease victim.
Though the management of the school initially denied the development but the
Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Temitope Ilori, said the sick student
had confessed having contact with the late Port Harcourt doctor, Iyke Enemuo,
who died of the EVD after he secretly treated an infected ECOWAS diplomat,
Olu-Ibukun Koye, in a hotel in the Rivers State capital.
The commissioner said the female student had been put in the isolation ward.
Ilori said, “I was told that a student of the OAU who had contact with the
doctor who died of the Ebola virus in Port Harcourt walked into the health
centre when she was sick.
“She was said to have told doctors at the health centre that she had contact
with the Port Harcourt doctor and was put under surveillance but she said she
tested negative that time.
“Now she returned to the OAU to continue with her studies and was sick. She was
said to have walked to the health centre and told them everything about her
contact with the doctor.
“Her blood sample has been taken for another test in Lagos and we are awaiting
the result. We pray she is not positive but she has been isolated at the health
When one of our correspondents visited the hospital on Tuesday, it was observed
that health officials were disinfecting the surroundings of the medical centre
and more attention was paid to places where patients sit before being attended
It was also learnt that top officials of the hospital held an emergency meeting
after testing the suspected patient, who was said to have been on admission in
the hospital since Monday.
Before the confirmation by the commissioner, the Public Relations Officer of
the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile Ife, Mr. Olu
Bello, had denied the report that a suspected Ebola virus patient had been
admitted to the hospital.
Bello said he also heard that a student of the OAU, who returned from Port
Harcourt, was down with the virus but he said the hospital did not have any
case of Ebola.
“There is no case of Ebola at the OAUTHC. Nothing like that; I also heard
something like that but such rumour has been causing unnecessary tension among
the people but it is not true.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Abiodun
Olanrewaju, said the university would make its findings known to the public
later Tuesday night.
“It is a suspicion; we don’t know yet. We will make our position on it known
tonight. We are still working; we are in the office now,” he told one of our
correspondents on the phone.
Olanrewaju later told The Punch that the ailing student had been moved to
Though, medical officials in the hospital had denied that the said student
tested positive to the Ebola virus, they confirmed that the Federal Government
Emergency Ebola Team had been contacted.
One of the officials, who preferred not to be identified because he was not
authorised to speak, said the suspected patient would be made to go through an
intensive examination on Wednesday (today) by the EVD team from Lagos.
Another official claimed that the symptoms showed by the student “are not too
different from fever”.
The official said, “A patient was brought to the health centre and due to the
fact that she hails from Port Harcourt there were fears that it might be Ebola.
We have carried out tests on the victim and found that she is suffering from a
likely fever. Not satisfied, we pressed further by holding an emergency meeting
which finished five minutes ago.”
When asked why the hospital was disinfecting its surroundings, another staff
said, “We are only taking preventive measures. To be 100 per cent satisfied, we
have sent a letter to the Ebola Emergency Team in Lagos and the team should
arrive by tomorrow (today).”
To ensure calmness in the institution, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bamitale
Omole, urged students to desist from spreading rumours about EVD.
He spoke during the 52nd matriculation ceremony for 5,608 newly-admitted
students of OAU on Tuesday.
He said, “A current issue of concern to us as an institution, which is also
related to the judicious use of the facilities in the halls of residence, is
maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene to halt the spread of EVD. The
virus, which is not airborne, spreads through bodily fluids such as blood,
sweat, urine, saliva and vomit. We should all co-operate to halt the spread of
this disease by arming ourselves with adequate information about the disease
and avoid spreading false rumours that certainly can cause fear and panic.
“A committee of experts had been set up in the university and it will step up
its sensitisation and enlightenment campaign about the symptoms, modes of
transmission and preventive measures of the disease.”