Lassa Fever: Ogun places patient under watch

Rats primary carriers of Lassa fever virus

Two persons infected with the disease have died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.

Disclosing these and other developments in a joint press conference of LUTH and Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Director, Prof Chris Bode, explained that the current outbreak was being effectively traced in the field, adding that all persons now exposed to the index cases were being effectively treated.

Bode said the health workers had been admitted to the Isolation Ward at the teaching hospital alongside a female resident doctor who contracted the infection while conducting an autopsy on one of the index cases.

"The second case, a known sickle cell disease patient, died on the 5th of August, also at LUTH".

The CMD added that all the other 97 contacts are still under surveillance.

The Special Adviser added that three health workers who developed symptoms had tested positive and on admission receiving treatment in an isolation ward in LUTH. They are being cared for by a group of professionals, volunteer doctors, epidemiologists, microbiologists, emotional care givers and cleaners all round the clock.

Speaking, the Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Eniola Erinosho, who called for caution to avoid unnecessary panic over the outbreak, said the state was near containing the outbreak. Those that are being monitored have been given thermometers to check their temperature.

He noted that the Lagos State Ministry of Health had directed its Epidemiology Unit to move into LUTH.

"Nigeria can combat such situations; we have done so before and we came out clean and stronger, so we should all collectively work to together to ensure that we do it again, " Bode said.

This is coming barely four months after the state government declared the entire state Lassa fever free.

Olubunmi Omojowolo, Chairman of NMA, who reacted to the death of two Lassa fever patients on Tuesday, said the most important thing now is education and hygiene.

Erinosho disclosed further that already, the state government was taking over the 2nd corpse which was still in LUTH's possession, since the index case had been moved to Ilesha in order to conduct the burial according to global standards.

"So, even one case is enough to alert the public that there is Lassa fever; we have seen two cases that came in and died within a day or two of admission".

Erinosho, who advised Nigerians to keep their foodstuffs away from rats, however, urged them not to panic as Lassa fever, according to him, is a curable disease whose treatment is readily available in the country.

Onanuga said the laboratory tests on two other suspected cases at Mainland Hospital referred from General Hospital, Lagos and a private hospital in Imota were negative.

Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness, with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by the Lassa fever virus with an incubation period of 6-21 days.

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