Daily Trust (Abuja)

26 January 2013

Nigeria: Lassa Fever Claims One in Lafia

Lafia — An out break of Lassa fever in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State, which was confirmed last week, has led to the death of at least one person who shuttled between Nasarawa's two biggest health facilities in the frantic search for attention.

The second and third cases involving a couple was confirmed last Friday after diagnoses conducted on the victims by a team of epidemiologists at the Dalhatu Araf Specialists Hospital (DASH) in Lafia, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Ashiki, told Weekly Trust, yesterday.

The three victims including the deceased, Weekly Trust learnt, were neighbours in Tudun Gwandara, an over-populated and one of the dirtiest sections of the metropolis.

Dr. Ashiki told Weekly Trust that the two victims are still on admission at his hospital, and are "doing very well." He expressed hope that with the medication they are receiving, they will be out of the hospital hale and hearty.

He confirmed that one other person also contacted the virus, but added that "he is not with us; he was not hospitalized here."

Weekly Trust inquiries showed that the third patient, a male, could not secure admission at the DASH because of inadequacy of beds, following which he was advised to proceed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), in Keffi, about an hour to 40 minutes drive from Lafia.

But sources said this hospital too did not have bed space for the patient, and had to advise him to seek medical attention elsewhere. He died eventually, shuttling between DASH and FMC.

Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, state Commissioner for Health who confirmed the outbreak in a phone told Weekly Trust that he has information that the third victim died three days ago.

He said the patient was first at DASH, but added that there was no bed space to accommodate him, following which the state hospital referred him to the Federal Government-owned health facility, in Keffi.

The commissioner said reports available to him showed that the patient died three days ago, after he reached DASH, but refused to stay longer while arrangement for his bed was being made.

Jamilu Nagogo, head of the information unit at the FMC, confirmed that the patient was at the hospital for medical attention, just as he confirmed that he had no admission there because of lack of bed space.

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