As the Ebola virus continues to wreak havoc in West Africa, and concern for foreigners who have visited the region spreads, it turns out that Patrick Sawyer, one of the three American citizens who contracted Ebola, may have infected four people while he was in Nigeria.
The Washington Post, culling notes from a World Health Organization report, says that Sawyer, a Liberian-born consultant, came into contact with four health care workers while he was being treated for Ebola-like symptoms in a Lagos hospital.
“They’re all contacts of Patrick Sawyer,” Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, maintained. Hartl explains that this news is of particular concern because it “raises the specter of transmitting the disease beyond Lagos.”
It’s a concern that many nations share. Countries across the continent are being extra cautious about incoming and departing flights headed to the countries with the highest rates of Ebola infections: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leona. According to another Washington Post report, Senegal recently canceled a flight headed toward Monrovia, the Liberian capital, which caused U.S. officials to scramble at the last minute to catch another flight headed to the city.
The high-risk countries are finding themselves in a bubble because their natives are finding it hard to leave their countries, and the outside world is finding it increasingly difficult to get in, which is also posing a problem for humanitarian efforts to get health care personnel and medical supplies to the region.
Sawyer is the only American known to have died as a result of contracting Ebola. The other two Americans—Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol—were treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Both have since recovered and were released from the hospital last week.