Lassa fever: 3 more test positive at LUTH, 150 under watch

LAGOS—Three persons under surveillance for Lassa fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, have tested positive to the disease.

This came as Lagos State Government, yesterday, urged Lagosians not to panic, saying the epidemic was near containment in the state. Also, 150 people exposed to the cases are now under surveillance.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the contagious disease, the Lagos State Government has taken over the burial of the corpse of the second index case at LUTH. Disclosing these and other developments in a joint press conference of LUTH and Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Director, Prof Chris Bode, explained that the current outbreak was being effectively traced in the field, adding that all persons currently exposed to the index cases were being effectively treated.

“The outbreak is under control. We have enough drugs and we have received enough assistance from partners. Let us please douse the panic created by unguarded statements and if anyone needs to make enquiries, we have already provided hotlines for this,’’ he said. Bode, who was optimistic that the outbreak would be defeated, explained that corpses of the deceased who came from neighbouring states, had been professionally managed.

He added that each of the cases had been managed in other facilities before they were referred to LUTH. He said the infected resident doctor and others that tested positive to the Lassa virus were responding to treatment. “She (the doctor) is in good state of health. Once Lassa fever is detected early and treatment initiated, there is every cause to be optimistic of recovery of the patient. ‘’We have four beds in the isolation unit which is completely self-contained and have rooms for nurses and doctors, where they can change, and they have their own toilets and bathrooms.

“It has regular supply of electricity and water, fully air conditioned and we follow international standard procedure in attending to the patients,’’ he said. While disclosing that the hospital has made necessary arrangement for additional spaces for any likely cases from within or outside the hospital, he explained that ‘workers and other people who have been exposed to the cases have been profiled.

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“All those under surveillance have been given thermometers to check their temperature in case of any unusual rise in body temperature. The LUTH workers, who came in contact directly with the first patient, were close to 100 and they were swiftly informed and each of them is still being followed up for any early signs of Lassa fever. “Of the 100, three persons, who developed symptoms tested positive and have been on admission and receiving treatment in our Isolation Ward here in LUTH.” He urged all hospitals across the state to maintain high index of suspicion and contact LUTH on 08058019466, 08058744780, 07035521015 and 08023299445.

No cause for alarm — LASG Speaking, the Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Eniola Erinosho, who called for caution to avoid unnecessary panic over the outbreak, said the state was near containing the outbreak. According to him, the Lagos State Ministry of Health had directed its Epidemiology Unit to move into LUTH immediately it was notified about the development on August 3, 2017 in order to prevent further spread of the disease. “We are on top of the situation and there should be no panic, and again the index case mentioned was referred from Divine Grace Hospital Imota, Ikorodu area of Lagos.

We have been to Imota and have taken charge of the situation, but none of them have actually come down with the fever. “We have about 22 people there. Today is 14 days of monitoring and we hope in the next seven days, they will be discharged from monitoring list. At present, we have two cases at the Mainland Hospital but they are under control,’’ he said. “It is only when we have immediate contact that we restrict their movement. You can’t pass the virus until you show signs and symptoms.

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But when they present with high temperature we move them to isolation wards.” Erinosho disclosed further that already, the state government was taking over the 2nd corpse which was still in LUTH’s possession, since the index case had been moved to Ilesha in order to conduct the burial according to international standards. “In case of death, we use body bags and we seal the coffin and the relatives will not see the body.

From there, we have special unit in the Ministry called ‘State Environmental Monitoring Unit’ that carries out the procedure.” LUTH-ARD, NMA react Reacting to the development, President, Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH-ARD, Dr Adebayo Sekunmade, who confirmed that one of their members had tested positive to the disease, tasked management of the hospital to provide enough Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, necessary for the management of the situation. “Some resident doctors volunteered to treat those 100 people under surveillance but we want the management to handle the situation more carefully.

The volunteer resident doctors and nurses should not come to the general wards or move around the premises. “They should be appropriately monitored and also protected so as to prevent further casualties,” he noted. Reacting to the development in a telephone chat with Vanguard, Lagos State Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, who described the situation as unfortunate, urged the federal and state governments to scale up level of emergency preparedness in order to respond swiftly in situations of outbreak. He called on the government to procure Personal Protection Equipment, PPE, in all hospitals across the country.

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“When we observe this international standard of responding to situations like this, it will reduce the chances of medical doctors and other health workers falling victim.” Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, in a statement issued by the LSMOH confirmed that laboratory results of the two suspected cases at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, were negative.

Onanuga said the two patients were referred from the General Hospital, Lagos and a private hospital in Imota, Ikorodu. He called on residents to be calm and not panic, assuring them that Federal Government in active collaboration with the State Government is doing everything possible to control the spread of the Lassa Fever in Lagos State. 4 quarantined in Yobe hospital Four people are being quarantined for clinical analysis in Yobe over suspected case of Lassa fever, Dr Bello Kawuwa, the state Commissioner for Health said, yesterday.

Kawuwa told newsmen in Damaturu that seven people were initially held, but three had been discharged after clinical analysis. The commissioner said though, earlier results did not indicate that the four people have Lassa fever, a second laboratory test would be carried out on them.

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