Hope of a possible letup in the Lassa fever epidermic that has claimed no fewer than 30 lives was dashed yesterday, following reports that a doctor had been diagnosed with the ailment in Jigawa State. The epidermic has infected more than 200 across 11 states in Nigeria.
Acting permanent secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of Health, Salisu Mu’azu, who confirmed the latest victim, Anthony Etim, a staff of Medicins Sans Frontieres, also known Doctors Without Borders, was being treated at the isolated Infectious disease control unit in Jahun Hospital, Jahun Local Government Area, Jigawa State. Etim developed symptoms following an official engagement at an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Borno State.
He said about 11 people in Birnin Kudu LGA of Jigawa State were being closely monitored after contact with a relative, a medical doctor now quarantined in Kano, over the Lassa fever. Meanwhile, at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, Kogi State, Dr. Bernard Ododo, head of clinical services, yesterday, said five suspected cases were reported in the hospital in the last one week, out of which three tested positive to the virus, while one patient died.
“Five suspected cases reported at the hospital in the last one week, three already tested positive, of which one died. Two cases already transferred to Lassa Fever Management Centre at Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State. Two others (of which one has died) have their results awaited from NCDC laboratory in Abuja,” Ododo said. The physician, therefore, advised residents to adopt all necessary precautions to prevent the outbreak of the epidemic-prone diseases in the state.
Ogun Confirms 1 Case
Ogun State has confirmed a case of Lassa fever, with a firm assurance that all was being done to contain it. Commissioner for health, Dr. Tomi Coker, made this known in a statement yesterday, in Abeokuta. She said the suspected Lassa fever case was confirmed by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) virology laboratory on January 24. According to Coker, the patient was a pregnant 29-year-old, who took ill and was referred to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta.
She stated that, contrary to some reports circulating in the media, “the patient is not dead, as she was transferred to the Federal Specialist Hospital in Irua, whose facilities provided the patient with the full benefit of multidisciplinary care required for her due to her pregnancy.”
She added that the Rapid Response Team had commenced line listing of all who had come into contact with the patient for surveillance purposes, including her relatives and hospital staff that managed her case.
Sokoto Mobilises Health Workers
Sokoto State government says arrangements were in full swing to tackle the resurfacing Lassa fever in some parts of the state. Commissioner for health, Dr. Ali Inname, said the state had deployed experts to sensitise people on what must be done to prevent the disease.
He said the state government, through the Ministry of Health and other agencies, was doing everything to save residents from the disease. According to him, although there is no reported case of Lassa fever in Sokoto, his ministry had stocked PPE, drugs and other emergency equipment,” he said.
Enugu Denies Remoured Death Of Nurse
Enugu Government has dispelled rumour that one of the nurses that treated the patient who died of Lassa fever has also died. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, said the information was false, unfounded and misleading.
Dr. Agujiobi advised the public, especially residents of the state, not to panic but go about their normal duties. He stated that the health ministry will continue to ensure that universal health precautions are strictly observed”.
The permanent secretary disclosed that the state Ministry of Health has constituted a MULTI SECTORAL Rapid Response Team charged with the responsibility of containing and mitigating against the deadly Lassa fever menace.
No new case in Lagos
In Lagos, commissioner for health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said there were no cases of coronavirus or Lassa fever in the state, but declared that the state was stepping up its level of preparedness.
He added that the state was collaborating with the Federal Airports Ports Authority of Nigeria in screening and surveillance of passengers, while advising citizens on precautionary measures against contagious infections.
However, the NCDC at the weekend confirmed 29 deaths and 195 cases in 11 states. Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC, who disclosed this in a statement, in Abuja, explained that the figures were as at Friday, January 24.