Two alarming new cases of Ebola have emerged in Nigeria, widening the circle of people sickened beyond the immediate group of caregivers who treated a dying airline passenger in one of Africa’s largest cities. The two new cases were infected by their spouses, both medical workers who had direct contact with Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, who flew into Nigeria from Liberia and Togo and infected 11 others before he died in July. The male and female caregivers also then died of Ebola, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Friday. Nigerian officials initially claimed the risk of exposure to others was minimal because Sawyer was whisked into isolation after arriving at the airport. But Lagos state health commissioner Jide Idris later acknowledged that Sawyer was not immediately quarantined when he arrived, because doctors didn’t suspect Ebola at that point. The two new cases were quarantined two days ago while being tested, Chukwu said. They had previously been under surveillance, meaning they were contacted daily to see if they developed any symptoms, but their movements were not restricted. Once they showed signs of the disease, they were brought in. Authorities are now trying to identify and monitor everyone they have been in contact with. In all, 213 people are now under surveillance in Nigeria as authorities try to monitor anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, Chukwu said. These include six people in the southeastern state of Enugu, he said. The latest two cases bring the total number of confirmed infections in Nigeria, including Sawyer, to 14. Five have died, five recovered and another four are being treated in isolation in Lagos, the commercial capital where Sawyer’s flight landed. More
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