By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna
LAGOS—Two persons were yesterday confirmed dead from Lassa fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, even as a resident doctor has been infected with the disease.
Confirming the development, the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof Chris Bode, said not less than 100 hospital workers exposed to the index case are currently being monitored.
According to Bode, the patients who were presented very late died after spending a few days on admission.
“Each of these two patients were presented very late and died in spite of efforts to salvage them. The first was a 39-year old pregnant lady with bleeding disorder who died after a stillbirth.”
He said a post-mortem examination had been conducted before her Lassa fever status was eventually suspected and confirmed.
Bode also confirmed that a resident doctor from the Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology, who took part in the autopsy was later confirmed with the disease and is currently on admission and responding well to treatment at the Isolation Ward of the hospital.
The Chief Medical Director further disclosed that two other suspected cases from Lagos State are presently admitted and quarantined while undergoing confirmatory laboratory tests.
He enjoined all LUTH workers to maintain a heightened level of alert in the wake of this new outbreak and observe universal precautions in handling all suspected cases of this viral hemorrhagic fever.
Bode said already, LUTH was working with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health to contain the present Lassa fever outbreak by mobilising human and material resources to trace the sources and extent of the disease, follow up on potential contacts, identify early and test suspected cases.
In a related development, Vanguard gathered that the Lagos state epidemiology unit has put out a notice to all heads of health departments in Ikorodu local government area over one of the corpses of the victims allegedly released from LUTH. The unit has directed health officials to list all contacts with the body.
Unconfirmed report said the family had collected the corpse for burial, but the unit directed the officials to prevent the body from being buried in Imota, Ikorodu in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
A notice issued by the Lagos state government to all health workers reads in part: “All HODs in lkorodu LGA and the five LCDAs are hereby alerted to swing into immediate action to list all contacts with the body from the hospital to their destination.
“They should also prevent the body from being buried at home. The address would be posted as soon as it is confirmed. Meanwhile, all officers in lmota are by this notice directed to mount surveillance in lmota town to know where a woman died in LUTH today.
“In addition, we should all note that on no account should a patient suspected to have any of the viral haemorrhagic fevers be moved or transferred from where he/she has been diagnosed. The officer there should contact his superiors locally plus the state epidemiology unit at Alausa and receive clear instructions on what to do next.
“Moving or transferring the suspect will only ignorantly expose more people and create unnecessary, irrational panic. Detain the patient there and make the call. We have two Lassa fever suspects admitted at Mainland Hospital, Yaba,” the notice directed.