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How we buried Lassa fever victim – LASG

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By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna, Daud Olatunji and Gabriel Olawale
…As Ogun isolates suspected case
he corpse of the second Lassa fever victim simply identified as Mr Hope, that died within 24 hours after admission in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, has been buried, even as a 22-year-old male patient is undergoing medical observation for suspected Lassa fever at the Ogun State General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta..


The LUTH victim, a known sickle cell anaemia patient, who was said to have travelled from a neighbouring state and came down with the disease on arrival, was presented very late prior to his death.

Officials of the Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit, SEHMU, carried out the task on Wednesday evening in accordance with regulations of the World Health Organisation.

Disclosing this to Vanguard yesterday, The Director, Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health Dr. Eniola Erinosho said there are no new positive cases apart from the three announced earlier.

“We buried him yesterday. In fact the van we used to convey the corpse was at the LUTH premises before we left the office of the Chief Medical Director yesterday.”

Explaining the handling of such corpses, Akinosho said the body was buried after consent was obtained from the family.

“Firstly we got the body bags and normally use two types of coffins, either iron or wood, but both would be sealed, so that nobody can open them and the relatives will not see the body again. We have a dedicated place where we usually bury such bodies. The burial ground is different from normal burial ground as it is not accessible to anybody. The area is disinfected; all those who partake in the exercise are also disinfected,” he noted.

It will be recalled that the corpse of the index (first) case, one Mrs. ‘X’, 32, who was rushed to the LUTH with bleeding complication of pregnancy and died three days after admission, was moved to Ilesa for burial.

“When we got the information we contacted the state where she was moved to and there is no reason for alarm. Our epidemiologist contacted the expert in that state and informed them. We work together.

“We have been to the house of the late patients and hospital. There is no new positive case; even those that were being tested at Mainland Hospital came out negative,” Akinosho affirmed.

Erinosho said those that tested positive are being adequately managed.

On whether the state had contained Lassa fever, he stated: “The truth of the matter is that we are near declaring that we don’t have infection of Lassa fever again, but what we need to do is complete the monitoring of those that are under surveillance.

“Again those on treatment we want to make sure that they don’t manifest any symptom, that is when we can effectively say we have contained the infection, but presently we are in the process.”

In a related development, a 22-year-old male patient is under medical observation for alleged Lassa fever at the Ogun State General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta.

Vanguard gathered that the unknown patient, a resident of Abeokuta reportedly travelled to Lagos and came down with the symptoms.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Babatunde Ipaye, who confirmed this on phone said the patient has been placed under watch.

“We have carried out the first test, the first sample was positive. It shows some reactions ,we need to do another confirmatory test.  We are doing everything to see whether it is a confirmed case. The patient’s temperature was high yesterday , but, today , it has reduced considerably.

“By tomorrow we should be able to confirm whether it is Lassa fever or not . Meanwhile , the patient has been isolated”, Ipaye said .

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