Lassa fever: One dead, 32 others on surveillance in Delta

Lassa fever: One dead, 32 others on surveillance in Delta

Monday, August 22, 2016 11:41 pm

file photo: Doctors attend to a Lassa fever patient

file photo: Doctors attend to a Lassa fever patient


The Delta State Ministry of Health has confirmed one confirmed person dead and 32 others on surveillance following the reported case of Lassa fever.


The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Nicholas Azinge, in a statement on Monday in Asaba, said that the state recorded one death from Lassa fever after a medical doctor in the state died from the disease.


“On Aug. 18, 2016, one case of Lassa fever was reported in Delta State. The confirmed case was a medical doctor resident in Asaba who hailed from Anambra State.


“He was first admitted in a private Hospital in the state and was later referred to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State.


“The patient’s condition deteriorated and he died after three hours on admission,’’ Azinge said.


The commissioner said that blood sample earlier collected from the victim was confirmed to be positive for Lassa fever after laboratory analysis at the Institute of Lassa Fever, Irrua in Edo State.


He also disclosed that following the incident, the state government took immediate action to forestall the spread of the disease by shutting down the late doctor’s hospital in Umuaji quarters in Asaba.


“Following the discovery, we also ensured that the hospital where he was treated at Bonsaac area was also shut down and fumigated.


“His wife’s blood sample was taken and tested at the Institute of Lassa fever; it, however, came back negative.


“So far, a total of 32 persons have been placed on surveillance; These include 11 persons from the immediate family of the deceased.


“Eighteen persons at the private Hospital where the patient was first admitted and 3 other persons who made contact with the deceased,’’ Azinge said.


The commissioner also disclosed that two local government Disease Surveillance Officers in Oshimili South and Oshimili North were actively involved as part of the state response team.


“The Surveillance Officers have been monitoring the temperature of those under surveillance and this will be done for a period of 21 days.


“The State Lassa Fever Response Team has been reactivated while sensitisation of health workers in the state is ongoing.’’


Azinge said the health workers were being sensitised to the need for preventive measures when managing infectious cases.


According to him, the ministry has also embarked on awareness creation through the mass media, to enlighten the public on the mode of transmission of the disease and the preventive measures, to forestall its spread.


The commissioner also said that prevention materials had been sent the various local governments prone to high-risk disease outbreak in the state.


“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), non-contact thermometers and other items have been distributed to the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in all of the 25 local governments by the state Ministry of Health.


“The drug, Rivabirin has been procured for immediate case management while the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Medical Association in Delta have been contacted and are collaborating with us,’’ he said.


The commissioner gave assurance that the situation was under control and appealed to the public not to panic.


Meanwhile,  Enugu State Government has posted surveillance and health focal-point officers to communities within its boundary with Anambra to pro-actively check the spread of Lassa fever, an official has said.


Dr Okechukwu Ossai, the state Chief Surveillance Officer, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday.


Ossai said that since last week when the outbreak of the disease and deaths were confirmed in Anambra, the Ministry of Health’s surveillance team had been put on alert.


NAN reports that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, had on Friday confirmed the death of a doctor and two others from Lassa fever in Anambra.


“The ministry is not leaving anything to chance since there is high daily mobility of residents of our state to Anambra and vice versa and we share a near seamless boundary with Anambra.


“We have been working hard since last week on re-training, case definition and diagnosis of Lassa fever with the council and community health surveillance officers of the ministry.


“We have also deployed our health focal-point persons and communicators to the boundary communities.


“We have taken vital positions and preparation without being loud about it in order not to raise public panic or unnecessary alarm or rumour,’’ Ossai said.


He said that the ministry would send its health communicators to communities within the state boundary with Anambra to educate people on the disease and channel of reporting any suspected case or person.


Ossai said that the ministry had also stocked protective gears to be distributed to the local government areas as well as surveillance and health focal-point officers to avoid repeat of incident at NAUTH.


NAN reports that Enugu, which shares boundaries with Anambra in the West, has Ezeagu, Oji River and Uzo Uwani local government areas within the zone. (NAN)


Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.