…65 still under watch
By Sola Ogundipe, Demola Akinyemi, & Chioma Obinna
Kwara State government has said that Lassa fever has claimed the life of one person in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health , Mr. Atolagbe Alege, who disclosed this yesterday in Ilorin said the alert became necessary in view of the outcome of the results of the samples taken to Virology Department of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, for verification.
Alege, however, said there was no cause for alarm, said the state government had procured necessary drugs and other medications to prevent the disease from spreading.
Meanwhile, a new Lassa fever case was identified last Thursday at LUTH among the doctors, who first had close contact with the index case, even as 65 others are still under watch.
Disclosing this while giving an update on the Lassa fever cases at the hospital, the Chief Medical Director, Prof Chris Bode, said the patient, a female, had already commenced treatment and is expected to recover fully very soon.
Bode, who noted that psychological and other supports had also been provided, added that her family contacts were closely being monitored.
He also said that 70 of the contacts being followed up had also been let off, having completed their period of observation.
“Last week, we reported the deaths of two patients who had been brought to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and were later diagnosed with Lassa fever.
“Three doctors who closely attended to the first patient later tested positive for the disease and were admitted while 135 other contacts have been followed up.
“The three doctors admitted with confirmed Lassa Fever in LUTH have all been certified fit and discharged home because subsequent repeated tests on them showed they have now tested negative for Lassa and no longer harbour the disease,” the CMD noted.
Meanwhile over 400 LUTH staff attended a grand round on Viral Hemorrhagic Fever on Friday at which various aspects of the contagious ailment were discussed.
“The importance of a high-index of suspicion, early diagnosis and referral were highlighted to medical workers who were also enjoined to observe universal precautions while attending to any patient who may be suspected of having Lassa fever.
“There is a fully equipped response squad available round the clock to assess and take over the management of any suspected cases in LUTH.
“The team has been beefed up by several volunteer staff who are working assiduously to overcome this dreaded disease and we are optimistic, buoyed by the successful discharge of those three doctors who had earlier tested positive.”
He said the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Ministry of Health have supported LUTH with the provision of more drugs and Personal Protective Equipment, follow-up services, and decontamination. Free hand sanitizers have been deployed to various wards.
Bode said an internal inquiry was empaneled to audit possible breaches in established service