Nigeria: Another Death Recorded in Enugu Lassa Fever Outbreak

31 January 2020

The death toll in the Lassa fever outbreak in Enugu State has risen to two.

According to the Management of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, a second death was recorded on Thursday, at the hospital.

A statement signed by the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Obinna Onodugo, reads, "It's confirmed that a case of Lassa Fever came to UNTH today (30/1/2020) and died at our Emergency and Accident (Unit)."

He said the hospital and the state government have started contact tracing, to curtail the spread.

"We are also working with the Enugu State epidemiology Team and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to ensure that proper measures are taken at the mortuary, and to protect staff against new cases," he said.

He noted that the hospital has procured some essential materials needed to keep the staff safe.

"There is no cause for alarm," he assured.

THE UNTH management said it has medication for all those who have been exposed directly or remotely.

"You are advised to be very careful these days and to have a high index of suspicion, while observing universal safety precautions.

The CMD urged the staff to privately call his attention or that of the Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) if they notice any lapses, so they can be addressed.

"May God be with us all as we try to discharge our duties creditably," he concluded.

This is the second Lassa Fever death in the state.

The first was at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Park Lane, last week.

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported how Anambra became the 20th state with at least one confirmed infected patient.

According to the NCDC, between January 1 and 26, a total of 689 suspected cases with 258 confirmed cases were reported, with 41 deaths.

These cases were reported from 19 states including Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Borno, Nasarawa, Kogi, Rivers, Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Delta, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Osun and Ogun.

Five health workers were among the dead: Kano (3), Taraba (1) and Borno (1).

Scourge

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus.

The natural carrier of the virus is the multimammate rat, but the disease is also spread through human to human transmission.

Lassa fever is transmitted from the excreta or urine of the multimammate rat. Anyone who is suspected of being in contact with a Lassa patient needs to be presented to the health facilities within a period of 21 days.

Lassa fever, at early stages, present symptoms similar to febrile illness such as malaria.

Symptoms of the disease generally include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, vagina, anus and other body orifices. It could also present persistent bleeding from sites of intravenous cannulation.

Early diagnosis and treatment increases a patient's chances of survival.

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