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21 Aug 2017

Another doctor tests positive for Lassa fever at LUTH

Another doctor has tested positive for Lassa fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

She is among the doctors that first had close contact with the index case.

Yesterday, LUTH said, she had treatment and was expected to recover soon.

She is the fourth doctor to test positive for the disease; three other doctors, who earlier tested positive to the disease, LUTH Chief Medical Director (CMD) Prof Chris Bode, said, had been certified fit and discharged.

Bode said psychological and other supports had been provided for the patient adding that her family contacts were being closely monitored.

He said: “Seventy of the contacts being followed up have also been let off, having completed their period of observation.”

According to him, over 400 workers of the hospital attended a “special workshop” on viral haemorrhagic fever last Wednesday, during which various aspects of the contagious ailment were discussed.

The importance of a high index of suspicion; early diagnosis and referral were highlighted to medical workers who were also enjoined to observe universal precautions while attending to any patient who may be suspected of having Lassa fever, Bode said.

“There is a fully equipped response squad available round the clock to assess and take over the management of any suspected cases in the hospital,” he said.

The CMD added that various meetings have been held with doctors and other members of staff to reinforce these messages. Trainings have also been conducted and are ongoing for staff at the forefront of patients’ care.

He said: “Both the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Ministry of Health have supported LUTH with the provision of more drugs and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), follow-up services and decontamination.  Free hand sanitisers have been deployed to various wards.  An NGO (Ebola Containment Trust Fund) has provided 10 telephones and airtime for the use of our Lassa Fever Response Team in LUTH.

“The team has been beefed up by several volunteer staff who are working assiduously to overcome this dreaded disease and we are optimistic, buoyed by the successful discharge of those three doctors who had earlier tested positive.  An internal enquiry has been set up to audit possible breaches in established service protocols and any other reasons that resulted in the hospital personnel getting infected.”

Bode said the disease was gradually tapering off, “but we must remain vigilant while ongoing efforts are maintained to control the disease.”

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