Makurdi — Three persons, including a medical doctor have been confirmed dead in an outbreak of lassa fever in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Sources told Vanguard that the medical doctor (name withheld) reportedly contracted the disease from his patients at his private clinic located in Wadata area of the town.
The doctor and his three patients were later rushed to Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Makurdi, where they died 48 hours after being admitted into the hospital.
However, the fourth patient who is currently receiving treatment at the teaching hospital had been quarantined by medical experts.
Confirming the report, Chief Medical Director, BSUTH, Prof. Orkuga Malu stated that the medical doctor had been treating the patients before they were brought in to his hospital where three of them later died.
According to him, "there were suspected cases of lassa fever. Four people were admitted into this hospital from different places. The symptoms of their illness made us to believe that they died of same disease.
"For now we can not state categorically that it was lassa fever but the symptoms suggested it. Some of the symptoms can also occur in other diseases. So we can not state categorically whether it is lassa fever until the laboratory tests confirm it.
"Among the three who died was a medical doctor who we gathered might have been treating the patients of the sickness. The patients and the medical doctor died within 48 hours."
Also confirming the development, Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Orduen Abunku, said samples of blood obtained from the patients have been transferred to the Special Federal Government Lassa Fever laboratory at Federal Medical Centre, Irrua, Edo State to ascertain if the current strain was like those that broke out in the past or a mutant strain.
"All medical doctors and other health personnel that have had any form of contact with the patients are being given prophylactic medications to guard against any further mishap while the fourth patient has been quarantined," the Commissioner said.
He also confirmed that the health officials were being administered Ribavirin, Virazole and other medications used in the treatment of lassa fever as preventive measures.