Lassa fever: Three die as Lagos, Rivers monitor 307 persons

By The Citizen

The Rivers State Government has confirmed that three persons have died, while more than 200 others are currently under observation following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.

Also, the Lagos State government said on Saturday that it was monitoring at least 107 persons suspected to have been in contact with an index case of Lass fever at Ahmmadiyyah Hospital and at Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

Speaking on Saturday , the state Commissioner for Health in Rivers, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, said about 50 people who had contact with the first reported two cases could be out of observation because they had not shown symptoms of the disease.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the commissioner said the medical doctor who died after contracting the disease had been buried after consultations with the family. Odagme said the state government had set up a special centre to manage new cases of the disease, noting that no new case has been reported.

Similarly, at a press conference in Lagos, the state's Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said that the private hospital which the Lassa fever patient was taken to had been temporarily shut down while its 15 patients as well as 25 health workers in the clinic are being observed.

'The Ahmmadiyyah Hospital where the first case of the disease in Lagos was reported is now under serious surveillance and there will no service delivery in the facility until further notice. The 15 in-patients as well as 25 health workers in the facility are being monitored for the next 21 days. Contacts tracing is ongoing; and currently, we have a total of 109 contacts and all are being followed up. Nine-two of them had direct contact with the patient in the private hospital and 17 contacts at LUTH.

'The people (being monitored) must work with us. If it gets to a point where we have to apply the force of the state we will do that. Right now the choice is to persuade, explain and give them information. We don't want anybody to panic as long as they understand what is at stake,' Idris said.

The commissioner stated further that it was working with the World Health Organisation to ensure the fever does not spread, saying that all hospitals both private and public have been placed on high alert.

He added that isolation wards in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and 26 general hospitals in the state had been reactivated for isolation of any suspected case.

In a related development, the Ogun State government has set up three isolation centres, in a bid to contain any case of outbreak of the fever.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, made this known to journalists in Abeokuta.

Ipaye listed the centres to include the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, the State Hospital in Ijaiye and the General Hospital, Iberekodo, Abeokuta, adding that the government had mounted surveillance since the outbreak of the virus in Bauchi last year in November 2015.

Both Lagos and Ogun said they were liaising with their education ministry to ensure that schoolchildren are protected.

Meanwhile, residents of Delta State have been visiting hospitals across the state to find out whether they have fever or not.

According to the state's Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, the residents are being unnecessarily panicky.

'Deltans are unnecessarily panicking; measures have been put in place to curtail the disease in case of any outbreak, though there are prone areas. But the state government is working hard to prevent the lives of Deltans,' Azinge said. Agency report