The 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak remains unprecedented both in the number of cases, deaths and geographic scope. The first case of EVD was confirmed in Lagos Nigeria on 23 July 2014 and spread to involve 19 laboratory-confirmed EVD cases. The EVD cases were not limited to Lagos State as Rivers State recorded 2 confirmed cases of EVD with 1 out of the 2 dying. Swift implementation of public health measures were sufficient to forestall a country -wide spread of this dreaded disease. This exploratory formative research describes the events of the Nigeria Ebola crisis in 2014.
This research was implemented through key informant in-depth interviews involving 15 stakeholders in the EVD outbreak in Nigeria by a team of two or three interviewers. Most of the interviews were conducted face-to-face at the various offices of the respondents and others were via the telephone. The interviews which lasted an hour on average were conducted in English, digitally recorded and notes were also taken.
This study elucidated the public health response to the Ebola outbreak led by Lagos State Government in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health. The principal strategy was an incident management approach which saw them identify and successfully follow up 894 contacts. The infected EVD cases were quarantined and treated. The Nigerian private sector and international organizations made significant contributions to the control efforts. Public health enlightenment programmes using multimodal communication strategies were rapidly deployed. Water and sanitary facilities were provided in many public schools in Lagos.
The 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria was effectively controlled using the incident management approach with massive support provided by the private sector and international community. Eight of the confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria eventually died (case fatality rate of 42.1%) and twelve were nursed back to good health. On October 20 2014 Nigeria was declared fee of EVD by the World Health Organization. The Nigerian EVD experience provides valuable insights to guide reforms of African health systems in preparation for future infectious diseases outbreaks.