Lassa fever is back in the country as two people have died of the disease with 100 others under surveillance in Lagos state. The two patients died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, within few days of admission where they were being treated. Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, confirmed the deaths yesterday in a statement.
Bode explained: “Each of these two patients presented very late and died in spite of efforts to salvage them. The first was a 39-year old pregnant lady with bleeding disorder who died after a stillbirth. Post-mortem examination had been conducted before her Lassa Fever status was eventually suspected and confirmed.” According to him, no less than 100 different hospital workers exposed to this index case are currently being monitored. “A resident doctor from the Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology who took part in the autopsy was later confirmed with the disease and is currently on admission and responding well to treatment at the Isolation”, he said. He added that top management staff had spoken with the doctor and other affected staff to boost their morale and assure them of the hospital’s full support He enjoined all LUTH workers to maintain a heightened level of alert in the wake of this new outbreak and observe universal precautions in handling all suspected cases of this viral hemorrhagic fever. Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), according to experts, is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains. “LUTH has always worked closely with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in handling a number of diseases of public importance such as rabies, cholera, Lassa fever and the recent diarrhoea disease at the Queen’s College”, Bode said. Bode revealed that both the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health have responded swiftly to contain this present Lassa fever outbreak by mobilising human and material resources to trace the sources and extent of the disease.

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