Lassa fever kills two, infects one in Enugu, Delta

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The  Enugu State Ministry of Health has confirmed a case of Lassa fever at the state University Teaching Hospital, ESUT-Parklane, that claimed one life on Wednesday.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeanyi Agujiobi, said this in a statement.

Agujiobi called on the public not to panic as all hands were on deck to curtail and contain the problem.

He said, “A confirmed case of Lassa fever involving a 75-year-old woman was presented to ESUTH 10 days ago with some symptoms akin to malaria. She didn’t visit a neighbouring state where such case exits.

“However, on Monday, she started vomiting blood and the high index of suspicion came. A sample was taken to a virology centre at Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, and it was confirmed to be positive of Lassa fever.”

He said the patient died on Wednesday.

Agujiobi said the National Centre for Disease Control had been contacted.

“Arrangement is being made to bury safely the corpse immediately because of the public health implications.

“We advise all persons to observe universal health precautions especially washing of hands with soap at all times, avoid eating rats or the likes, as well as avoid drinking raw garri because of the vector that transmits the disease.

“This Lassa fever is caused by Lassa virus – A hemorrhagic viral disease. The disease may be asymptomatic but can present with symptoms mimicking malaria.”

Meanwhile, a single mother has been reported dead from Lassa fever in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

A source told our correspondent that two cases of Lassa were brought at the Federal Medical, Asaba on Tuesday.

He said, “It is unfortunate that one of them a single mother died today (Wednesday), at the FMC”

A corps member serving in Asaba was on Monday referred from the FMC, Asaba to Specialist Hospital, Irrua, in Edo State after the confirmation of the virus.

The Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Asaba, Dr Victor Osiatuma, said the incident can only be confirmed by the state Commissioner for Health.

Efforts made to reach the commissioner, Dr Mordi Ononye, were unsuccessful as his calls rang out, while a text message sent to his phone had yet to be replied to as of the time of filing this report.

However, the Ogun State Government said the National Centre for Disease Control list which mentioned the state as one of the states with  lassa fever cases was erroneous.

The government insisted that there was no confirmed case of Lassa fever in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, in a statement on Wednesday in Abeokuta, added that government had however put its health officials on red alert in the event of a suspected case.

Coker  said, “Lassa fever is an endemic acute viral hemorrhage illness that is transmitted from rodents to human, and human to human.”

The Commissioner advised health workers across the state to maintain a high index of suspicions for Lassa and treat all cases of fever symptoms with caution.

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