…Says no cause for alarm
…100 suspected hospital workers not quarantined, infected female doctor fine – LUTH
From: Azoma Chikwe
The Lagos State Government has confirmed another three cases of Lassa fever under its care, saying that the victims were responding to treatment.
The three cases tested positive to Lassa fever after five suspected cases were placed on 21 days surveillance.
However, Director, Lagos State Disease Control, Dr. Eniola Erinosho, said there was no need for panic as the State Government was working in collaboration with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital(LUTH), the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital(LASUTH) and other relevant health institutions to contain the outbreak.
He said Lassa fever was less dangerous than Ebola Virus disease because most people who tested positive to Lassa fever, when detected early and treated, get well.
His words, “We have the drugs, the experts and LUTH is co-operating. We have alerted all facilities in LASUTH, Mainland hospital etc to join in the fight against the disease. Presently, we are monitoring two cases at Mainland hospital. The Lagos State government has given full support to the State ministry of health, basically, I would say that we are in full control of the situation, there is no cause for alarm.”
He advised that prevention of Lassa fever relies on promoting good “community hygiene” to discourage rodents from entering homes. Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households
In healthcare settings, prevention is by standard precautions where all blood and body fluids are considered potentially infectious. Standard precautions are applied to all patients at all times and in all health care settings. These include hand hygiene, use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), waste disposal, cleaning and disinfection of medical equipment and environment, safe injection practices.
“Deratisation was carried out by the Lagos State government in our markets and we killed 7,000 rats. But we try to prevent rats from coming into our markets. What the rats are after are left-over foods, we should also prevent rats from coming near our foods, that will help,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode disclosed that the doctor infected by Lassa fever while treating a patient is responding to treatment in the isolation ward.” Once you diagnose Lassa fever on time and start care on time, you can be sure the patient will respond to treatment.She is doing fine and the family is grateful for timely intervention.”
On Lassa fever diagnosis, he said:“Lassa virus infections can only be diagnosed definitively in a Virology laboratory using the following tests: the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, testing for IgM, antigen detection tests and virus isolation by cell culture. These tests can be done at Virology Reference Laboratory at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos.
“The only known specific treatment for Lassa fever is Ribavirin which may be effective if given within the first six days of illness. It should be given intravenously for ten (10) days. Supportive treatment should include; Paracetamol, Vitamin K (Phytamenadione), Heamacel, Ringers lactate, antimalaria and antibiotics- start by I.V. If patient is severely anaemic, consider transfusion. There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.”
He also clarified that the 100 hospital workers who came in contact with the index case were not quarantined but allowed to go about their work while being monitored.” A thermometer has been given to each of them to check their body temperature twice a day and report the figures in a chart as part of the monitoring,” he said.