Lassa fever: 30 under surveillance in Abia

* One doctor, index case confirmed dead
From Steve Oko, Umuahia
No fewer than 30 persons including staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, have been placed under surveillance following the suspected outbreak of Lassa fever in the hospital.
The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Abali Chuku, who disclosed this at a joint press conference with the Abia State Commissioner for Health, Dr. John Ahukanna, Tuesday in Umuahia said efforts were on top gear to contain the situation.
A female resident doctor at FMC, Dr Chizorom Ndukwu, died of suspected Lassa virus at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Irrua, Edo state, where she was rushed to after taking ill at home.
She had been initially admitted at the FMC Umuahia for treatment before going to Irrua as her case deteriorated.
a�?The management of Federal medical Centre Umuahia regrets to announce the death of her staff. She died of Lassa fever,a�? Dr Chuku noted with regret.
This is happening three months after a patient was reportedly killed of virus suspected to be Lassa fever in the hospital.
The patient brought from Obowo in Imo State died on arrival at the hospital but the hospital management had then said his specimen had been sent to Edo State for analysis.
The incident which caused panic in the state was later dismissed by the State Government.
Meanwhile, the Medical Director explained that the need to avoid possible spread of the deadly disease informed the action of the hospital management to place people who had come in contact with the deceased under surveillance.
He, however, added that not every person under surveillance had the same level of risk.
a�?Every possible contact whether patient or person will be identified, defined and put on surveillance,a�? Chuku said.
Shedding more light on the possible source of the index case, the MD said investigations were on in the case of a baby who was admitted in the hospital about a month ago and later died .
He said the late baby had been treated by the late doctor.
According to him, the patient was referred by a pediatrician from a private hospital but the baby was not tested for Lassa virus before she died.
He however said it had not been established that Lassa fever was the cause of the death of the baby as “nobody has manifested any signs of the virus after 21 days incubation period which ended Tuesday starting from the day the baby died.”
a�?We are not looking at one direction so that you dona��t put peoplea��s lives at risk. We may not get to know where the deceased doctor contracted the virusa�? he said.

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