Celebrating the woman who discovered Nigeria's Ebola patient zero and curbed an outbreak

Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh spotted Nigeria's first Ebola case in July 2014 but later died of the disease in August

Francesca Washtell
Sunday 08 March 2015 13:33
Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh diagnosed Nigeria's first Ebola patient but later died of the disease herself
Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh diagnosed Nigeria's first Ebola patient but later died of the disease herself

Few people have heard of Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, but many have her to thank for curbing the outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria and preventing an epidemic of the disease in Africa’s most populous country.

Dr Adadevoh is widely praised as the woman who spotted Ebola when it first came to Nigeria.

Patrick Sawyer, Nigeria’s patient zero, was a 40-year-old Liberian man who flew from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, into Lagos on July 20 2014.

He was already visibly ill during the flight, vomiting frequently on the plane and on arrival, where he was immediately transferred to the First Consultant Hospital, Obalende.

He contracted the virus from his sister, who had recently died from Ebola, and should not have been allowed to fly.

Nigeria had never had a case of Ebola before, so when Dr Adadevoh, a UK-trained consultant endocrinologist, ordered he be tested for the disease and placed in quarantine, she had to stand firm against those who disagreed with her.

Patrick Sawyer was a 40-year-old Ebola victim who carried the virus from Liberia to Nigeria

Mr Sawyer was frustrated about his isolation, strongly wanting to leave the hospital, and before long the Liberian ambassador was putting direct pressure on her to release him, reported the BBC.

Mr Sawyer died just days later, on 25 July. On 4 August, it was confirmed that she Dr Adadevoh tested positive for the Ebola virus, and she died a fortnight later on 19 August.

Nigeria was declared Ebola free on 20 October, though in September 19 confirmed cases led to seven deaths.

According to WHO figures, in the three worst affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, 830 health workers contracted the disease and 491 died.

In an Ebola Situation Report released on March 4 2015, 9,807 people worldwide were estimated to have died out of a total confirmed 23,969 cases.

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