Diplomat Who Fled Quarantine at Center of Second Ebola Cluster in Nigeria

A Nigerian diplomat who fled quarantine is at the center of a second cluster of Ebola cases in Nigeria’s main oil hub.

The first cluster emerged in July, when an infected Liberian-American man named Patrick Sawyer flew into Lagos. Sawyer died within days of arriving and Nigerian officials tried to prevent an outbreak by quarantining his close contacts. But Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed that a diplomat with the Economic Community of West African States ignored that quarantine and traveled from Lagos to Port Harcourt after developing symptoms of the deadly disease.

The diplomat was treated at a hotel in Port Harcourt between Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, according to the World Health Organization. A doctor who treated him developed symptoms of the infection roughly 10 days later but continued to interact with family, friends and patients for two days, the agency said.

As his symptoms progressed, the doctor rested at home, where he was visited by friends and relatives to celebrate the birth of a baby. He was hospitalized on Aug. 16 but continued to be seen by dozens of community members, including church members who performed a “laying on of hands,” according to WHO. He was also visited by a majority of the hospital’s medical staff before he died on Aug. 22.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.