Daigle Lagos Transcript


Daigle Lagos Transcript


We found it was pretty chaotic. Nigeria was the first time--and Lagos, where it was I guess a great fear was realized. It's a city of twenty-one million people, and they're jammed very tightly. I think that was always one of the great fears about Ebola, is what would happen if it got into a densely populated urban center? Before, you'd go out for Ebola or Marburg and it would be in a very remote area. Uige, Angola, was remote, and it would usually burn out. But the idea of having it in this very [densely populated] city was terrifying. One of the first things we did was there were--I think, at the time--twelve cases, and we had to begin contact tracing. It got up to about two hundred people that we're doing the tracing on. We worked with our partners, we had to come up with a kind of a facility to put the patients. We quickly converted--I think it was an old TB [tuberculosis] hospital--into an isolation ward. We got an isolation ward set up, and we started working. It was amazing, they stood up this kind of ad hoc communications group, and there was, let's see, a UNICEF [United Nations Children's Fund] communicator, there were some college kids, there was a professor from one of the universities. We really went into the ICS, the incident command structure, with communications as part of that. As far as communications, I was working with--we also have a consulate in Lagos. With an outbreak like this, there was intense media interest, so we were working the public affairs aspect with our State Department folks at the consulate in Lagos, as well as Atlanta and everybody. So there was the aspect of the media relations, the public affairs. But there was also--we stood up a kind of social media arm, and the Lagos guys were amazing. Some of these young kids in college putting together social media campaigns, leading Twitter chats. We hooked them up with CDC, and I think one of them--we did a Twitter chat that was one of the largest ever, from Nigeria working with CDC Atlanta. There were some amazing things. There was really a need for it, because we would see these crazy rumors that would just take off. I remember, the day after I got there, looking at the headline of a paper that said something about salt water possibly curing Ebola or preventing it. So initially, go into a campaign, one to help educate, but also to do some rumor-busting. There were rumors about cocoa nuts or a certain kind of nut that would also prevent it. So there was a lot being done very quickly. And then just getting educational materials in place, and a lot of this stuff we were pulling straight from Atlanta and trying to get to our counterparts.


“Daigle Lagos Transcript,” CDC Museum Digital Exhibits, accessed June 14, 2024, http://cdcmuseum.org/items/show/793.