By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—AT least, 30 persons have been placed on surveillance by the management of the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia, following the death of a medical doctor suspected to have died of Lassa fever disease.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Abali Chuku who disclosed this yesterday, at a joint press conference with the Abia state Commissioner for Health, Dr. John Ahukanna assured that the disease would be contained.
The victim female doctor, Chizorom Ndukwu, a resident doctor, said to have been barely a month in the employment of FMC, Umuahia, reportedly died of Lassa virus at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Irrua, Edo state.
“The management of Federal Medical Centre Umuahia regrets to announce the death of her staff. She died of Lassa fever”, Dr. Chuku confirmed. The deceased, he explained was initially admitted at the FMC before she was transferred to Irrua where she later died.
Chukwu said many people were quarantined because some staff of the hospital “came in contact with her in the course of her management”, but added that not every person under surveillance has the same level of risk.
“Every possible contact whether patient or person will be identified, defined and put on surveillance”, Chukwu said.
The hospital has however not been able to trace where the deceased contacted the virus.
He explained that an 11-month old baby was brought to FMC from a private hospital on March 12 who died the following day after admission. The baby was said to have been treated by the deceased doctor, saying that the baby was not tested for Lassa virus before she died.
Chukwu however said that it was not yet possible to pinpoint if the baby was the source of the Lassa virus that killed Dr. Ndukwu as nobody has manifested any signs of the virus after 21 days incubation period which ended Tuesday from the day the baby died.
“We are not looking at one direction so that you don’t put people’s lives at risk”, he said as medical doctors offer their services across various health facilities and not all hospitals fully observe the standard protocol on disease control.
Meanwhile a team of experts from the Nigerian Centre for disease control has visited the FMC Umuahia and investigate and provided support to ensure that the disease was contained.