The Lagos State Government swelled the number of persons placed under surveillance over the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state by 22 yesterday, stating though, that none of the 100 workers of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) under watch since Tuesday had tested positive for the deadly disease.
The fresh 22 were persons from Ikorodu who had contact with the index case and are currently under close observation, the Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Eniola Eniosho, said.
He noted that the index case was originally being treated in Divine Grace Hospital, Imota, Ikorodu, where about 22 persons had direct contact with her, adding that such suspected cases had been put on close monitoring since the past two weeks.
Stating this during a press briefing on updates of the outbreak in Lagos yesterday, he said so far, none of the 22, and the other 100 cases formerly reported in the media had come down with any sign or symptom of the virus.
Eniosho said: “Today makes it day 14 and none has come down with fever. By day 21, which is the last day of surveillance, we can then say we have contained the virus in the state.
“We gave all those under surveillance thermometers so they can record their temperatures, at least twice daily, by themselves. Those in LUTH have been reporting their results to the hospital management.
“Also, the three confirmed cases, including the resident doctor are in the surveillance unit in LUTH and they are responding well to treatment. Their treatment is positive because they presented early, unlike the other two cases that died,” he explained.
On the two corpses, he said that of the late pregnant woman had been taken out of LUTH for proper burial, while the remaining corpse in the hospital would be buried by the Lagos State government as a precautionary measure against spreading the virus.
The Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, said the two persons who died in the hospital presented late, making it impossible for the hospital to successfully treat them.
Assuring that there was no reason for panic, he said the country had first-rate medical teams that were quite capable of effectively controlling the ongoing Lassa fever cases.
He said: “Nigeria overcame the dreaded Ebola virus, a viral disease that is 100 times deadlier than Lassa. So there is no reason for anyone to panic. However, we are taking the treatment of the suspected cases seriously. We even brought in a psychologist to talk to them.
“We want to assure Nigerians that training has commenced among our workers, and additional space has been readied for any likely cases from within or without the hospital, and we are working closely with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, and the Federal Ministry of Health as well,” he added.
He said the three confirmed cases were currently doing fine and responding to treatment.
Bode commended the selflessness of the hospital’s nurses, especially Moji Ayorinde, who according to him, remained resolute in the care of the patients.
“Doctors from various departments also rose up as one to care for their colleagues. I specifically also commend Dr. Opawoye and Dr. Akinbode, two gallant residents in training for their effectiveness in containing this outbreak,” he stated.