…3 earlier positive doctors discharged
•Lassa outbreak tapering off, but we must remain vigilant – CMD
By Azoma Chikwe
Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi Araba, Prof Chris Bode said, yesterday, that another doctor had tested positive to Lassa fever.
The new case was among the doctors under surveillance, who had close contact with the index, and she has already commenced treatment and is expected to recover fully very soon.
“Psychological and other supports have also been provided and her family contacts are closely monitored,” the CMD said.
He stated that three doctors admitted with confirmed Lassa fever in the teaching hospital have all been certified fit and discharged home as subsequent repeated tests on them showed that they tested negative for Lassa and no longer harbour the disease.
Last week, two patients were brought to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and later diagnosed with Lassa fever. Three doctors who closely attended to the first patient later tested positive for the disease and were admitted, while 135 other contacts had been followed up.
However, it was gathered that 70 of the contacts that were being followed up have also been let off, having completed their period of observation. He said over 400 LUTH staff attended a grand round on Viral Hemorrhagic Fever yesterday at which various aspects of this 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.
The CMD spoke further: “There is a fully equipped response squad available round the clock to assess and take over the management of any suspected cases in LUTH. 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. 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, follow up services and decontamination. Free hand sanitizers have been deployed to various wards.
“Ebola Containment Trust Fund, a non-governmental organisation 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.”
Prof. Bode said that an internal enquiry had been empaneled to audit possible breaches in established service protocols and any other reasons that resulted into hospital personnel getting infected.
He added that the disease was gradually tapering off but noted “we must remain vigilant while ongoing efforts are maintained to control the disease. LUTH Management thanks all stakeholders and the Press for their continued support.