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Nigeria monitors 160 after Ebola kills doctor in oil city

Some 160 people are being medically monitored in Nigeria's oil-producing hub Port Harcourt after a doctor died from the virus, the local government said on Friday (Aug 29).

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria: Some 160 people are being medically monitored in Nigeria's oil-producing hub Port Harcourt after a doctor died from the virus, the local government said on Friday (Aug 29). "As of today, none of them has shown symptoms of any kind. We are in touch with them constantly and they also call us to tell us their condition," Rivers State health commissioner Sampson Parker told a news conference in the city.

The Nigerian government announced on Thursday that the doctor was Nigeria's sixth person to die from the haemorrhagic fever and the first outside the country's biggest city, Lagos. Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state, is the centre of Nigeria's oil industry and is home to a number of oil majors, including Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, France's Total and US firm Chevron.

The doctor, Ikyke Samuel Enuemo, fell ill after treating an official from the ECOWAS regional bloc, who travelled to the city after coming into contact with a Liberian-American man who brought the virus into Nigeria and died on July 25. The official slipped through the surveillance net in Lagos. He was brought back to Lagos but found to have recovered from the virus, health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said.

Enuemo's wife, who gave birth only three months ago, is ill with symptoms of the disease and has been placed in quarantine. She requested to be moved out of Port Harcourt for "emotional reasons" and has been taken to an isolation unit in Lagos for further observation and treatment, Parker told reporters. "She is also a doctor. Her three-month-old baby is alive and well. The result of the test conducted on her (for Ebola) is not yet out," he added.

Six people have died of the disease in Africa's most populous country. Specialists from the World Health Organization, the United States and Britain have joined experts from the Nigerian government in Rivers State to check the spread of the virus. 

Rivers state has a quarantine centre at Oduoha, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of the city as well as a special isolation ward for Ebola patients at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). Neither has received any patient, Parker said.

A mobile laboratory has arrived in the city while the hotel where the ECOWAS official was treated has been decontaminated, as have the hospital where Enuemo was treated, his house and the morgue at UPTH.