Lassa fever kills two doctors, nurse in Ebonyi

Enugu NMA moves to contain disease spread
Two medical doctors and a nurse have been confirmed dead by Ebonyi State government from suspected Lassa fever infection.

The state Commissioner for Information, Daniel Umezuruike, who confirmed the incident yesterday in Abakaliki, also revealed that the index patient who was treated by one of the doctors and nurse survived and has been discharged.

According to Umezuruike: β€œEarly last week, there was suspected cases of Lassa fever and yesterday my attention was drawn to it that a doctor died of suspected Lassa fever. We sent 12 samples and four came out positive.”

Umezuruike said the cause of the death of one of the doctors has not been confirmed to be Lassa fever as he had Mobidity of Diabetes.

The commissioner further said the victims were presented late because they were self-medicating when the symptoms started showing.

β€œOne was self medicating, he went to Mater Hospital in Afikpo. Two doctors he saw later advised him to go back to Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA) he refused until it was advanced before he came to the hospital.”

Meanwhile, perturbed by reports of resurgence of Lassa fever in parts of the country, the Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association
(NMA) yesterday inaugurated a 22-member committee to sensitize residents about the disease.

Dr. Cajetan Onyedum, Enugu State chairman of the association, told newsmen after performing the inauguration that the move was necessary to curtail the rate of the spread even as he implored health workers to be at alert while carrying out their duties.

He said that members of the association were worried over the resurgence of the disease, which according to him has already recorded casualties.

Onyedum said that membership of the committee was drawn from key institutions in the state, adding that the committee would embark on sensitization campaigns across the state.

He stated that the proactive move would see them visit all primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities in the state as well as rural communities.

Chairman of the committee, Dr. Uche Unigwe said that Nigerians could no longer live in denial of cases of Lassa fever.

Unigwe, an expert in Infectious Diseases, said it was unfortunate that the disease had spread from the initial six states to over 20 in the country.

He said that medical workers needed to be more sensitive and at alert in identifying such cases.

The Chairman, Infection and Disease Control Committee, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Miriam Chidobem- Ajuba said that funds were required to check and contain the disease.

Chidobem-Ajuba said that the cheering news was that the state government had upgraded facilities at health institutions.

She said that the Emergency Response Team of the state Ministry of Health had also been strengthened in case of unforeseen circumstances, adding that the Isolation Ward at the Colliery Hospital had been upgraded.

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