Desmond Mgboh, Kano and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
No fewer than 292 persons including health professionals who had contacts with victims of Lassa fever in Kano State have been line-listed, Kano State Commissioner for Health Dr Aminu IbrahimTsanyawa, said yesterday.
Speaking during a press conference, he said the persons were being traced and followed up in line with guideline for the management of the disease.
He sdaid three persons made up of the index case and the two doctors who managed the index case had died.
Dr Tsanyanwa explained that on January 20, the ministry was informed by Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer of Taurani Local Government Area of three suspected cases of Lassa fever, involving two medical doctors and a nurse.
He noted that they notified the Gaduwa Reference Centre, Abuja which confirmed two of the cases.
He offered insight into the history of the current outbreak: “The index case was a 28-year-old pregnant woman from Gwale Local Government Area became sick two weeks after the death of her mother, who was referred from a private hospital to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.
“The index case was thus managed by numerous health care professionals including the two confirmed cases.”
He, however, said nobody in the state, including those who had contacts with the victims has been quarantined noting that the signs and symptoms of the disease were not exclusive to Lassa fever.
He said the government has taken several measures in the face of the outbreak, among which included the reactivation of State Isolation Centre at Yargaya, the reactivation of the Rapid Response Team and the ongoing Contact Tracing among others.
Meanwhile, Edo State Government has firmed up mechanisms to fight the menace with the donation of 200 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.
Presenting the items, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, who reassured the commitment of the Governor Obaseki-led administration in combating the scourge, said the donation was to arrest the spread of Lassa fever for the benefit of Edo people, and to protect caregivers from being affected. Commending the institute for its cooperation, the medical expert described the Irrua Specialist Hospital as a center of excellence in managing the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.
He further disclosed the state government has put measures in place to control the spread of the viral disease into the state.
Okundia advised the public to stick to hygienic practices and report all cases of febrile illness that are not responding to common treatment to the nearest standard health facility.
Chief Medical Director of Irrua Specialist Hospital, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbeni, who received the donated equipment on behalf of the hospital management, expressed appreciation to Governor Obaseki for his immediate response and keen interest in fighting the scourge.
Recall that the state government had on Tuesday disclosed plans to intensify efforts geared towards curbing the spread of Lassa fever into the state.