Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Rats: primary carriers of Lassa fever virus

Rats: primary carriers of Lassa fever virus

The first Lassa fever victim identified in the state early this month has died.

The deceased, simply identified as Eze, was said to have died Saturday, as she was expected to complete her medication on Sunday and blood sample to confirm her cure.

Also, another victim has been identified in the state and she too is undergoing monitoring at Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, OSUTH, Sagamu, Ogun State.

Addressing newsmen Sunday evening at the Conference room of the State Ministry of Health, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye expressed sadness over the death, saying the state was waiting to celebrate her for the completion of her dosage before she died Saturday.

According to him, “Ogun State Government under the leadership of Senator Ibikunle Amosun announces regrettably the death of the first case of Lassa fever in Ogun state today.

“We have contacted the family and gotten necessary consents and approvals to bury the remains, according to WHO guidelines and the national protocol.

“Eze was admitted into the isolation unit of OSUTH, which was specifically equipped, staffed and funded by the state government to manage confirmed cases of Lassa in the course of this national epidemic.

“Upon confirmation at a private hospitals in Ota, Eze received the best medical attention from varying numbers of medical specialists, well trained nurses, volunteer medical officers and several well kitted support staff. The patient received a nine-day course of ribavirine, potent antibiotics, appropriate blood transfusions and necessary psychosocial support.

“We were only waiting to celebrate the completion of medication today and take a blood sample to confirm cure, when unexpected complication set in yesterday, Saturday 13, February, 2016.”

He also disclosed that the deceased relatives were contacted before burial, adding that her father, who resides in Nassarawa state was contacted alongside other relatives around Ogun state.

The Commissioner confirmed that none of the 121 primary contacts tracked with the first victim have shown any symptom suggestive of Lassa fever.

He said the first 10 days have proved that, assuring that they will keep watching in the next 11 days to make up the longest incubation period of 21 days.

Commenting on the second case, which was discovered on Thursday, Ipaye revealed that she also traveled into Abeokuta from Kogi, north central part of the country.

He stated that the victim, whose identity was not revealed, was between 28-30 years and is 12 weeks pregnant and responding to treatment as at this morning when he checked on her.

“Like the first case, she also travelled into Abeokuta from Kogi state. She was said to have travelled to Kogi, her husband’s hometown for a ceremony. After the ceremony, she spent about two weeks in the state before returning here to meet with her husband, who is a civil servant.

“She was said to have gone to a primary health centre in Obantoko area from where she was refereed to the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Idi Aba, Abeokuta. The FMC don’t have facilities for isolation, so we were called upon.

“As a responsible and responsive government, we took up the responsibility and admitted her at OSUTH. As at this morning, I was there and I’m happy to report that she is fast responding to treatment. She is stable now, eating well and even spoke with her husband.

“We have been in contact with her family members and have mounted active surveillance on the 60 primary contacts of the patient,” the Commissioner stated.

Ipaye said residents should not panic, saying the situation is under full control.

“We will continue to implement the active surveillance, particularly, in our border local government areas.”

Ipaye submitted that people should maintain personal and environmental hygiene and ensure that they keep rats and rodents out of their abode.