There was panic yesterday in Asaba, Delta State following the confirmation of two Lassa fever cases.
The confirmed case is a 65-year-old woman from Ifiogwari village, Ayamelunu, Anambra State, who came for treatment in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
She was first admitted at St. Joseph’s Hospital before being referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, when her condition worsened.
The Delta State Rapid Response Team said it placed 22 persons, who had contact with the confirmed case on surveillance and five samples were sent for laboratory investigation.
The state government has informed the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, on the developments.
Lassa fever is caused by a virus found in the urine and faeces of a specie of rat when it contaminates food or water or come in contact with broken skin of humans.
Infected persons spread the disease when their body fluids, such as blood, faeces, urine, sperm and vomit come in contact with others.
Rivers State Commissioner for Health Dr. Theophilus Odagme yesterday confirmed the admission of a medical worker of Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH), at one of the three quarantine centres created by the state for prompt isolation and treatment of Lassa fever victims.
Odagme spoke through a statement by his Press Officer, Paul Baziah-Nsaneh, in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He said 250 persons were placed under surveillance across the state and that the state “is doing everything possible to ensure the virus does not spread further”.
Lassa fever outbreak was reported in the state in December.
Also yesterday, workers of Emergency Medical Service of the BMSH locked up the gates of the government-owned hospital, following 14 months’ unpaid salaries by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration.
The workers proceeded to the Government House, where they made known their grievances.
They said they were at the centre of the risk of contracting the disease and threatened to stop work.
Members of the state Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) have been on a warning strike for the abduction of two of their members by gunmen.
Lassa Fever has claimed two more lives in Plateau, the government confirmed yesterday in Jos.
Commissioner for Health Mr Kuden Dayin told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the victims died at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) on Saturday.
This brings to three those killed after the commissioner confirmed the death of one person at Ting village in Fombur District of Mangu Local Government Area last week.
According to Dayin, relations, friends and health workers, who came in contact with the victims, were placed under surveillance.
He added that 32 persons were under surveillance in Mangu, from the 15 placed under surveillance last week.
But the commissioner said none of those under surveillance showed any sign of symptoms of the disease.
But the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) yesterday decried the inadequate diagnostic laboratory facilities despite persistent outbreaks.
This, AMLSN stated, was not in tandem with the principle of universal health coverage, which, it said, has to be accessible, available and affordable.
The body, therefore, called on the Federal Government to consider the idea of specialised public health laboratories against emerging and re-emerging hemorrhagic fevers as Ebola, Lassa Fever and others.