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Panic Grips Delta State As Lassa Fever Kills Doctor, Leaving 32 Persons Quarantined

A wave of panic is washing over Delta State, following reported cases of Lassa Fever infection.  Already, the haemorrhagic fever has killed a doctor and left 32 persons quarantined in Asaba, the state capital.
Those placed under surveillance include 11 members of the family of the deceased doctor and 18 persons at the private hospital where he was first admitted. Also under watch are three other persons who made contact with the deceased. 

SaharaReporters reliably learned that the medical doctor was first admitted at a private hospital before he was  transferred to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, (NAUTH),  Nnewi, Anambra State. 

A medical doctor disclosed to SaharaReporters that the patient’s condition deteriorated and he died three hours after he was admitted. He also disclosed that the blood sample  collected from him at the Institute For Lassa Fever in Irrua, Edo State,  confirmed that the deceased was carrying the virus.

It was also gathered that the deceased, an indigene of  Anambra State, operated a private hospital in Umuaji, Asaba. His hospital and the one at which he was first treated have been shut down and fumigated.

Delta State Commissioner for Health, Mr. Nicholas Azinge, who confirmed the return of Lassa Fever in a statement, said the blood sample of the doctor's widow has been tested at the Lassa Fever Institute and returned a negative result.

According to Azinge, two disease surveillance officers in Oshimili South and Oshimili  North Local Government  Areas are participating in the efforts to contain the disease. They, with other government health officials, have been monitoring the temperature of those under surveillance, an activity that will last 21 days.

"Sensitisation of health workers in the state is ongoing for them to have a high index of suspicion and take preventive measures when managing infectious cases. "We are also creating awareness  through the various mass media so that  the general public can understand how the disease is transmitted and therefore take preventive measures to forestall its spread.

"In addition, outbreak prevention materials have been pre-positioned in high-risk disease outbreak LGAs. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), non-contact thermometers and other items have been distributed to the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in all of the 25 LGAs in the State by the State Ministry of Health," said Azinge.

The commissioner added that the drug, Rivabirin, has been procured for immediate case management, while the Federal Ministry of Health and the Delta State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association have been contacted and are collaborating with the State Ministry of Health.      

"I want to use this medium to assure the general public not to panic since the situation is under control," Azinge stated.