Lassa fever kills 3 in ebonyi
The Ebonyi State government on Monday confirmed the death of one doctor and a nurse from suspected Lassa fever infection.
The cause of a third death is yet to be confirmed.
The Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezuruike, said this at a briefing in Abakaliki, the state capital.
He said the index patient who was treated by one of the doctors and deceased nurse survived and has been discharged. The index patient is the first documented patient in an epidemiological investigation.
“Early last week, there were suspected cases of Lassa and yesterday my attention was drawn to it that a doctor died of suspected Lassa. We sent 12 samples and four came out positive.”
Mr. Umezuruike however said the cause of the death of one of the doctors has not been confirmed to be Lassa fever as he had ”morbidity of diabetes.”
The commissioner said the victims presented themselves for treatment late as they decided to embark on self-medication.
“One (victim) was ‘self medicating.’ He went to Mater Hospital in Afikpo. Two doctors he saw later advised him to go back to FETHA (Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki) he refused until it was advanced before he came to the hospital.”
For the second doctor, Mr. Umezuruike said because, ”he had morbidity of diabetes, his death has not yet been confirmed to be caused by Lassa fever”.Mr. Umezuruike debunked reports that the victims were taken to Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo state for treatment instead of the Virology Centre built by the state government in Abakaliki.
“He was treated at FETHA. We built and donated the Virology Centre to FETHA. The second case treated a woman who was bleeding after undergoing local ovuloctomy and he was treated by the doctor to arrest the bleeding on 29th December. They didn’t present (themselves) to the hospital on time,” he added
He said the ministry had commenced ‘contact tracing’ in order to monitor anyone who came in contact with the patients to ensure that no further deaths are recorded.