•2 doctors, 1 nurse feared dead
From Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
There was panic in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, yesterday, following a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever disease in the area which has claimed the lives of two doctors and a nurse.
The medical officers, whose names were given as Dr. Abel Sunday from Akwa-Ibom State, Dr. Felix Ali from Afikpo, and the nurse (name unknown), until there death, were members of staff of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA).
One of the doctors was said to have carried out operation on a patient who turned out to be a carrier of Lassa fever about three weeks earlier. The patient was said to have spread the ailment to the medical officers who worked on him. Strangely, he survived.
Confirming the development at a press briefing in his office, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, said 12 samples were taken from the victims and four of them came out positive.
He, however, said contrary to reports indicating three persons died of the dreaded disease, it was only two. He said the third victim has not been confirmed to have contracted the disease.
“So far, we have lost three patients. One of them has cold morbidity. He was diabetic and hypertensive. And the results of the sample collected are not yet out.
“Precisely, what we have confirmed two as Lassa fever. The second doctor’s result is still being processed although he has cold morbidity. Diabetes for instance, can kill very fast and some of the cardinal features of Lassa fever, like fever were not there,” he said.
But speaking with Daily Sun, the Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association in the state, Dr Austin Ikwudimma, confirmed that the three victims died of Lassa fever. He added that one other patient is receiving intensive care at Urrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.
He, however, expressed fear that more people might be affected as the dreaded disease has potency of wide range spread.
Meanwhile, a source who craved anonymity told Daily Sun that Dr. Ali, who hailed from Afikpo in Ebonyi State, was buried yesterday in his country home. He said the victim died as soon as they arrived Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.