Nigeria: Lassa Fever - How Infected Student Arrived Lagos

(file photo).
19 February 2020

Lagos — The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it has confirmed a case of Lassa fever in the state, assuring residents that the infected person has been isolated, as "everything is under control."

Addressing newsmen at the Ministry of Health today, the state's Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, narrated how the young student from Ebonyi state who was infected with the disease came to Lagos, saying he is presently undergoing treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

According to him, the student, whose name was not disclosed to avoid future stigmatization, was showing signs of the haemorrhagic fever while in Ebonyi before travelling to Lagos.

"The student went to the Law school in Lagos and after showing signs of fever, he was taken to the school's clinic where he was attended to.

"He still was not feeling well and was taken to the Nigeria Airforce clinic at Onikan where he was transferred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) when he was not getting better. It was at LUTH that he was diagnosed of having Lassa fever after testing positive on the 17th," the Commissioner said.

From the time he arrived Lagos till he was transferred to the isolated ward at LUTH, the Commissioner said the young man had contact with 63 primary contacts that have been identified and are being monitored.

"They will go through surveillance and if they show any sign, we will pick it up from there. If they develop symptoms, we will be able to treat them before they infect other people," Prof. Abayomi added.

He urged Lagos residents to be cautious with rodents and protect their foods always to avoid contacting the haemorrhagic fever directly from the source, rats.

Earlier, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of LUTH, Prof Wasiu Adeyemo, in a statement explained that "a confirmed case of Lassa fever was admitted two days ago and is currently receiving treatment at the LUTH Isolation Unit. There was no undue exposure to any frontline LUTH staff before or after the case was confirmed."

He urged all health workers to ensure they observe standard infection prevention and control protocols at all times when managing all patients.

Daily Trust reports that there was resurgence of the haemorrhagic fever since late last year in many states across the country, with Ondo recording the highest number of infected victims and deaths.

It would be recalled that the Lassa fever outbreak had spread to Delta, Enugu and seven other states since the beginning of the year as shown by Daily Trust findings.

The disease has so far killed 16 people in Ondo, 3 in Kano, while Edo and Delta recorded one death each as at January 23.

Hundreds of people were also on watch list across the country particularly in Kano and Ondo states. The death toll is equally increasing by the day while contact tracing has commenced in all the affected states. There are also efforts to quarantine people in the affected states.

Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic illness, caused by contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

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