Shocking: LASSA FEVER spreads as Kogi, Delta, record deaths
…NMA calls for high index of suspicion among members
By Anayo Okoli, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Egufe Yafugborhi, Boluwaji Obahopo, Shina Abubakar & James Ogunnaike
The Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja in Kogi, has confirmed three cases of Lassa fever and one death in the last one week.
Head of Clinical Services, Dr. Bernard Ododo who disclosed this said: ”Two cases already transferred to Lassa Fever Management Center at Irua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.
”Two others (of which one has died) has their results awaited from NCDC Laboratory in Abuja,” Ododo said.
“We advised the people to maintain high hygienic principle, keep rodents away from residence and food stuff materials.
Ogun denies death of patient
The Ogun State Government has said the confirmed Lassa Fever patient is a pregnant 29 year- old who took ill and was referred to the Federal Medical Center, FMC, Abeokuta.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, said contrary to some reports, the patient is not dead and has been transferred to the Federal Specialist Hospital in Irrua, Edo State.
Coker stated that the Rapid Response Team commenced line listing of all contacts with the patient for surveillance purposes, including her relatives and hospital staff that managed the case.
“We have given thermometers to those who have been in contact with the patient to monitor their temperatures and also provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the designated treatment centre at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.
“Other emerging or suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fevers are to be isolated in the designated quarantine areas for barriers nursing, until definitive diagnosis is concluded.
One dies in Delta state
TO support Delta State Government’s fight against Lassa Fever, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has donated protective kits and drugs to the state.
“The gesture undertaken by Acting Managing Director of the commission, Joi Nunieh, comes as the state government recorded two new cases with one death and another patient is undergoing treatment.
“Presenting the materials to state Ministry of Health at Asaba, Nunieh, represented by NDDC Director Health, Education and Social Services, Peter Edieya, said, “Recent outbreak of Lassa Fever compels our intervention because our people must be healthy to enjoy the development we bring.
“We must therefore continue to promote community hygiene, discourage rodents in our homes and introduce effective measures, include storing grains and other foodstuffs in covered containers.”
Delta Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, who said the NDDC’s gesture came timely disclosed that the state government has opened an isolation ward at the FMC Asaba where residents would be treated instead of going to Irrua in neighboring Edo State.
Doctor quarantined in Jigawa
The Jigawa State government has confirmed a case of Lassa fever involving a medical doctor in Jahun LGA.
Salisu Mu’azu, acting Permanent Secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of Health, disclosed on Sunday.
He said Anthony Etim, the victim, is a staff member of Medicins Sans Frontieres also known as Doctors without Borders.
Mu’azu said Etim developed symptoms of the virus after an official engagement at an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Borno state.
Muazu said Etim is undergoing treatment at the isolated infectious disease control unit in Jahun hospital.
Sokoto on alert, mobilises health workers
Arrangements are in high gear in Sokoto State to tackle the resurfacing Lassa Fever according to the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ali Inname. Preparations have been made and experts deployed to sensitise people to prevent the disease.
There is no reported case but the ministry has stocked PPEs, drugs and other emergency response equipment.
“We will also embark on a vigorous sensitisation against the disease in all nooks and crannies of the state.”
NAUTH ready for any eventuality
The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State is ready to contain any outbreak of the epidemic according to the Chairman, Medical and Advisory Committee, CMAC, Dr Joseph Ugboaja.
We also mobilise healthcare workers on how to protect themselves and to identify a likely case, so as to mount the necessary response.
“The hospital has a standby Lassa Fever Committee working round the year to tackle the epidemic, and the health institution has drawn up algorithms pasted at strategic places and fumigated the hospital environment, just as it has ensured steady running of clean water for adequate sanitation.
“Specifically in terms of response, we have two prongs: first is building and equipping an isolation centre, we are the first health institution in the South East to have a fully accredited isolation centre for such emergency cases, the centre is built and equipped with the necessary infrastructure.” Ugbaja said medical staff have been trained on how to manage suspicious cases.
“The medical experts were at Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State for two weeks to have the necessary training on how to tackle the outbreak of any epidemic disease.”
Enugu denies rumoured death of nurse
The Enugu State Government has dispelled the rumour that a nurse that treated the patient who died of Lassa fever has also dead.
In a reaction, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, said the information was false, unfounded and misleading.
He said the State Ministry of Health has constituted a Multi sectoral Rapid Response Team charged with the responsibility of containing and mitigating against the disease even as he said the death toll in Enugu remained one.
OAUTHC admits patient
Despite efforts by the Osun state government to curtail the deadly Lassa fever, there are indication that the disease has spread to the state.
Investigation gathered revealed that a patient was admitted to the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife during the weekend.
It was also gathered that the a patient suspected to be infected with the deadly virus was admitted to Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa last week.
A source closed to the Wesley Guild Hospital disclosed that the symptoms showed by the patients indicated that it was Lassa fever.
The source added that experts have been working round the clock to curtail the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu neither deny nor confirm the incident but said journalists would be appropriately briefed tomorrow (Monday) morning.
Similarly, a source at the OAUTHC told Vanguard that there is protocol in the reportage of breakout of viral disease, especially such a Lassa fever, hence, the restrictions on confirming the outbreak by the management.
The source added that the appropriate authority had been briefed and it would in turn make it public when the is eventually established.
In a response, Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA , Oyo State, Dr. Akin Sodipo, said members of the Association would support the government to fight against Lassa fever.
He appealed to medical practitioners and caregivers to imbibe the culture of using handgloves before giving treatment to any patient.
“Any febrile illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of antimalaria or antibiotics should raise an index of suspicion for Lassa fever.”
The NMA urged doctors to report all suspected cases of Lassa fever to the nearest Local Government Area Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer, DSNO.