Lassa fever: Four deaths in Taraba, one in Kaduna


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Four persons have been confirmed dead in Taraba State just as Kaduna State announced the death of 36-year-old man on Monday following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.

According to the Commissioner for Health in Taraba State, Dr. Innocent Vakkai, said that the ministry has recorded 15 suspected cases of Lassa fever, with only five, found to be positive.

“Four out of these five people that test positive to Lassa fever has died as most of the cases came from six local government areas of Bali, Gashaka, Gassol, Ardo-Kola, Jalingo and Ibi.”

He disclosed that the state government has activated its surveillance system for more case detection and proper treatment.

“Efforts are ongoing to create awareness for residents of the state to enlighten them about the symptoms of the disease.

The commissioner regretted that challenges such as late reporting of patients to hospitals and difficult terrains of the state have remained major banes to the management of the disease in Taraba.

Vakkai disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health has promised to provide testing machines and distribute regionally with Taraba, as the test place for the North-East.

He noted that the state government may acquire its set of equipment to reduce waiting time between suspicion and confirmation.

The Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Baloni, also announced the death of a 36-year-old male who tested positive to Lassa fever in the state.

According to Baloni, the patient died on Sunday night and had already been buried.

Giving the breakdown, She said that the state recorded a total of 11 suspected cases, out of which, eight were returned, seven were negative and one positive who just died, “38 people are currently on follow up contact. An active search is ongoing by the state to curb the spread of the disease.

She, therefore, appealed to the public to maintain high level of hygiene and to report any suspected cases promptly to the nearest health facility.

“The Ministry of Health had supplied infectious diseases control centre with the necessary commodities and health personnel was ready to manage any cases that may arise. The epidemiology unit is monitoring the situation closely, and all health facilities are on alert for prompt referral of suspected cases.”

She dispelled the rumour that Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital had been shut in the name of quarantine, saying “we didn’t close the hospital, but tried to restrict unnecessary visitation to patients to prevent them from contacting other infectious diseases, not only Lassa fever.”

Seven doctors and five nurses have been quarantined at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, Adamawa state, following their contact with a patient diagnosed with Lassa fever.

According to a reliable source within the hospital said that the pregnant woman who lost her fetus was the primary contact.

She said the woman was admitted at the labour ward, where the fetus was evacuated on Friday.

“After the evacuation, it was observed that the woman had a fever and was bleeding. So the medical team thought as much that it was a case of Lassa fever, and then she was transferred to the isolation room,” she said.

“When she was sent to the isolation room, the blood samples were taken away for a test, because normally they don’t do the test here. They had to send the samples and we waited for the test results which came out yesterday and showed that she was positive. But the patient died about two days to the release of the result.”

He said there have been no symptoms from other health workers.

“The only problem now is that many people are in contact with the patient. Seven doctors, five nurses and two sub staff had direct contact with her,” he said.

“But these just contact they don’t have any case or anybody that is manifesting with any symptom. Those that had direct contact with the patient are being quarantined for the incubation period of the disease.”

Kwara State governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, has directed the screening of persons coming in to the state at both the borders and airports to nip its spread to the state in the bud.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Raji Razak, said that the measures were to forestall the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.

He also disclosed that the government has completed the construction of the Lassa fever treatment isolation centre at the Sobi Specialist hospital, Ilorin.

The commissioner, who harped that there has been no case of Lassa fever in the state, added that the completed isolation centre in the state is the third if its kind in the country.

He added that the state has resuscitated its epidemic preparedness and response committee; rapid response team and incident command system also activated at the state emergency operation centre to coordinate preparedness activities in the state, using the national algorithm.

“Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has directed that we should intensify surveillance and screening at our borders and at the Airport. We are working with the port health authorities to ensure that any foreigner or travellers coming to Kwara State is screened before entering the state.

“The state had a dedicated budget line for the disease surveillance, risk communication/public awareness and other preparedness/response activities.

“Availability of surveillance focal person at health facilities (both public and private) for reporting of cases to respective surveillance officers at various LGAs at the state level. The state will intensify risk communication activities and shall promote and ensure safe and dignify burial practices for patients who die from Lassa fever”.

There was trepidation, yesterday among residents of Calabar, the Cross River state capital over reported case of Lassa fever at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH.

Findings revealed that at the weekend, two patients were admitted separately into the accident and emergency unit of UCTH as they showed unusual symptoms of sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle pains which are associated with Lassa fever.

It was further gathered that the doctors on duty collected the samples and reported the case to the management who immediately took it to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital at Ekpoma, Edo state, for analysis.

An impeccable source at the hospital who pleaded anonymity said the management was not treating the case with kid gloves as they have taken precautionary measures to protect the doctors and other health workers just as they have fumigated some departments in the institution.

However, some residents, who have patients, relations at the hospital were panicking with regard to the faith of their dear ones amidst the reported case of Lassa fever.

It was learnt that fears have also gripped some patients at the hospital and they are said to be making alternative arrangements for fear of being contaminated.

In a telephone chat with the Chief Medical Director, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, he said a patient was admitted and they needed to be sure adding that samples have been sent to Centre for Disease Control and Research in Edo state.

“A patient was admitted and to be sure of what type of ailment we took the sample and have taken it to the laboratory for proper analysis.

“So we cannot confirm whether it is Lassa fever or not until we get the results back. So we are still expecting it,” he said.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, at a press conference on Monday disclosed that two patients affected by the deadly disease are currently on admission at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife and Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa.

He said the two incidents are cases of transborder victims who sought medical treatment at the health facilities in the state.

According to the Commissioner, the state is not aware of any of the victims absconding from the Hospitals, saying the state has sent drugs for treatment to the hospitals, where the patients were admitted.

He said, “There were two cases of Lassa fever in the state, the two victims are already on admission at OAUTHC in Ile-Ife and Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa.

Out of the eleven suspected cases and blood samples sent for tests, only two were returned positive, while the others were negative. So the situation is under control. Drugs have been dispatched to the hospitals for their treatments and they are responding positively. We are not aware that any patients sneaked out of the hospital, the situation report is that the two patients are responding to treatment”.

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I am Alfred Williams, media content creator, blogger, web developer, graphic designer, computer analyst. I studied Computer Science and enjoy everything about blogging.

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