January 18, 2016

Lassa fever: FG holds emergency National Council on Health meeting

Lassa Fever


*Contact tracing on course —LUTH

By Sola Ogundipe

LAGOS — THE Federal Government is convening an Emergency National Council on Health meeting tomorrow to discuss the on-going Lassa fever outbreak in the country.


A statement issued by the Director, Media /Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs.Boade Akinola, the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, will chair the meeting that will be attended by all states Commissioners for Health, and Chief Medical Directors, CMDs and Medical Directors of tertiary health facilities and specialist health facilities in the country.

Akinola said a high point of the meeting scheduled to hold at the Rotunda Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the inauguration of the National Lassa Fever Action Committee.

Contact tracing on course —LUTH
In a related development, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof Chris Bode, assured that monitoring of at least 40 contacts of the first confirmed case of Lassa fever in Lagos has begun in earnest

Speaking, weekend, Bode said LUTH was on top of the situation, adding: “We have learned a lot of lessons from the previous Ebola outbreak, and we are just layering what is to be done on what has been learned before. The state government did not disband the various response teams so they have been reactivated along with the toll-free lines.

“The National Centres for Disease Control, NCDC, Federal Ministry of Health and others are highly responsive to the situation and in provision of the logistics. There is a lot of collaboration with the state and all the general hospitals are well prepared, sensitised and on red alert, and if any hospital is overwhelmed, there will be others to go to.”

He said clinicians from LUTH and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, will be manning the facilities to assist in the treatment of any other case that is detected, if necessary.

“This outbreak of Lassa fever will be quickly contained like we did Ebola. If we can beat Ebola, we can beat Lassa fever. We have a plan of action rolled out to treat anybody that comes down with Lassa fever. This disease is of importance to us at LUTH because such diseases often have fatalities in the hospital among the hospital staff and medical personnel.

We’re monitoring close to 100 contacts
Also speaking, a Consultant Public Health Physician at the Department of Epidemiology, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam said contact tracing was on course.

He said all persons that were with the patient during the onset of the problem are being traced.

He said: “I have been in touch with the Kaduna State epidemiologist, who has promised to provide contacts of all the people that may have potentially had encounter with this particular student who is from Kaduna. You can see that this goes beyond just identifying the contacts in Lagos alone. We have to look at other states because it is epidemiology and we have to all come together as a family.

“We are going to be monitoring close to 100 contacts. From the facility that I am coming from now, the figure is now 95 primary and secondary contacts and here at in LUTH we will be looking at over 100.”