Lassa fever kills two in Lagos, Doctor, two others isolated

Lagos has been placed on alert following the death of two patients from the Lassa fever virus at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi- Araba.

Prof. Chris Bode, the chief medical director of LUTH, who confirmed the deaths on Tuesday, said that a resident doctor who took part in the autopsy has been isolated and is presently receiving treatment at the hospital.

He also said that two suspected cases are being followed up at the Isolation Ward in LUTH while 100 hospital workers who had contact with the patients are being monitored for symptoms of the disease.

The chief medical director said that the first case was detected in a 39-year-old pregnant woman who had a bleeding disorder following a stillbirth; while the second victim died within few days of being admitted at the hospital. “Each of these two patients presented very late and died in spite of efforts to salvage them.

“Each of these two patients presented very late and died in spite of efforts to salvage them,” he stated.

“Post-mortem examination had been conducted before Lassa fever status was eventually suspected and confirmed.

“No less than 100 different hospital workers exposed to the index case are currently being monitored.

“A resident doctor who took part in the autopsy has been confirmed with the disease and is currently on admission.”

Bode, however, assured patients and health workers at the teaching hospital not to panic, saying the hospital had the needed drugs and resources at its disposal to prevent an outbreak or spread of the disease within the health facility.

According to him, the state’s Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, have sent personnel and experts to assist with the tracing and follow-up of contacts, in addition to managing suspected cases.

“There are adequate materials for containment of the disease, while drugs have been made available to treat anyone confirmed with the disease,” he said.

The Centre for Disease Control in Nigeria has also been contacted.

Two other suspected cases from Lagos State are also presently admitted and quarantined while undergoing confirmatory laboratory tests.

“LUTH has always worked closely with officials of the state’s Ministry of Health in handling a number of diseases of public importance such as rabies, cholera, Lassa fever and the recent diarrhoea disease at the Queen’s College,” Bode said.

Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness, with bleeding and death in severe cases. It is spread by rats.