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Three LUTH doctors infected with Lassa Fever

*97 still under surveillance

The Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, on Wednesday said that three of its doctors who had had contact with one of the two dead Lassa fever patients at the hospital have tested positive to disease.

LUTH’s Chief Medical Director, Prof. Chris Bode, who disclosed this during a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, said the three doctors were among the 100 contact cases being monitored by the hospital.

Bode said the infected health workers took part in the management of one of the two dead Lassa fever patients.

The LUTH CMD had on Tuesday told journalists that two Lassa Fever patients died at the hospital within few days of admission where they were being treated, thereby putting over 90 people that came in contact with them at risk.

Bode, however, urged Nigerians not to panic as the situation was under control.

“If we defeated Ebola fever that is 100 times deadlier than Lassa fever, we can effectively defeat the disease and other hemorrhagic fever. There is no need to panic. We only need to control it . It also occurs in other West African countries like Ghana and it is not the first time we are having cases of Lassa fever in the country,” he said

According to him, each of the dead Lassa fever patients were managed in other facilities before bringing to LUTH, “that is why we have about 100 people under surveillance.

“The LUTH personnel who came in contact directly with the first patient were close to 100 and they were swiftly informed and each one 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 said

He further explained: “Each of these two cases had been managed in other facilities till very late before they were referred to LUTH. The dead bodies were handled professionally and disposed properly according to international standards.”

Bode noted that the infected doctors were being cared for by a corps of professional and volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, microbiologists, epidemiologists among others while those under surveillance were each given a thermometer to check their temperature twice a day and report to the hospital whenever they recorded elevated temperature for immediate action.

To effectively manage this situation, Bode pointed out that training has commenced for health workers in the hospital while additional space had been readied for any likely cases from within or without the hospital.

Revealing that other hospitals in the state have been contacted to be on the alert and report suspected cases, Bode said LUTH is working in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health for proper tracing and follow-up of contacts in addition to managing suspected cases.

He said, “There are adequate materials for containing the disease while drugs have been made available to treat anyone confirmed with it. The Centre for Disease Control in Nigeria has also been contacted.”

In his remarks, Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Eniola Erinosho, said 97 under surveillance will be declared free after 21 days of monitoring.

“Today is the 18th day and very soon we will declare them free. Nobody should panic as the situation is under control. Those that tested positive are effectively being managed,” he said.

Angela Onwuzoo

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