Paul Omokuvie, Bauchi
Two medical doctors and the district head of Toro and 13 others have died of Lassa fever in Bauchi State.
The State Surveillance Support Officer, Dr Suleiman Lawal, disclosed this at the Lassa fever camp at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital in Bauchi on Tuesday.
The 16 deaths were recorded this year, he said.
Lawal said that a total of 43 confirmed cases had been recorded in the state since January 2020.
“Two cases were brought in from Plateau State. Among these confirmed cases, 16 deaths have been recorded this year.
“There were also three people that had died of probable cases. They are called ‘probable cases’ because we couldn’t take their samples before they died,” he said.
“Totally, we have seven health workers that were affected. One of the doctors who was pregnant had the disease; we managed her and discharged her. Four others are currently on admission; we’ve been managing them. They are now stable; in fact, we will discharge two of them today because they have finished their 10-day treatment period.
“Two doctors died, one was a doctor that died here (at the ATBUTH) while the other one died in a private clinic here in Bauchi.”
He said most of the deaths were as a result of late reporting and appealed to people to always come to the health facility on time.
He said the state received assistance from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children Endowment Fund (UNICEF) in its efforts at reducing the scourge of the disease to the barest minimum.
Lawal appealed to well-meaning members of the public to support in the fight against Lassa fever.
He said that there are seven pillars that will help in managing the epidemic which he said are: education, communication, risk communication, surveillance, case management, laboratory confirmation and prevention and control.
He pointed out that communication is key in managing the epidemic.
“If people get the correct information, they will know how to protect themselves and this will help in breaking this chain and reducing the spread. Sometimes people feel it has spiritual undertones, but if you give them the correct information, they will know exactly what it is, so communication is a very key pillar in controlling outbreak responses.
“You know when you have one case and you allow it, it will spread but once you are able to contain it, then you will limit the spread and it will die naturally,” he said.