One year after Patrick Sawyer introduced Ebola to Nigeria
It is exactly a year that Patrick Oliver Sawyer (1974 – 24 July 2014), a deceased Liberian-American lawyer introduced the deadly Ebola Virus disease into Nigeria during the West African Ebola epidemic.
Sawyer who was a naturalized U.S. citizen lived in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was 40 at the time of his death.
As Nigeria marks a year of battling Ebola, we compiled 10 facts on Sawyer’s historical to Nigeria you mustn’t forget…
10 Facts your mustn’t forget about Sawyer
1. On 9 July 2014, Sawyer informed ArcelorMittal management at the Buchanan office that he had been exposed to the Ebola Virus. They referred his case to the Liberian Ministry of Health for observation. They requested that he not return to the offices for 28 days.
2. However, Sawyer utilized an upcoming conference in Calabar, Nigeria to petition the Liberian Finance Ministry to attend as an “ambassador”. His departure was approved.
3. On 20 July 2014- Sawyer flew via ASKY Airline from James Spriggs PayneAirport in Monrovia, Liberia to Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos, Nigeria and was subsequently described as having appeared to be “terribly ill” when he left Monrovia.
4. He collapsed upon arriving at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
5. Patrick Sawyer was taken to First Consultant Hospital in Obalende, where he later died on 24 July.
6. In response, the Nigerian government observed all of Sawyer’s contacts for signs of infection and increased surveillance at all entry points to the country.
7. On 6 August, the Nigerian health minister told reporters, “Yesterday the first known Nigerian to die of Ebola was recorded.
8. It was later reported that at that time he flew, Sawyer was already under surveillance for Ebola infection, but had been cleared by the Finance Ministry of the Liberian government to leave for an ECOWAS conference in Calabar, Nigeria.
9. On 19 August, the doctor who treated Sawyer, Ameyo Adadevoh also died of Ebola disease. Adadevoh was posthumously praised for preventing Sawyer from leaving the hospital at the time of diagnosis, thereby playing a key role in curbing the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
10. On the 20th of October 2014, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola Free.