Two patients being treated for Lassa fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, have been confirmed dead.
Both patients whose cases were presented late were said to have died within few days of admission despite all efforts to save them.
The Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Chris Bode, while confirming the incident on Tuesday, said no less than 100 hospital workers from different hospitals who had been exposed to the patients are currently under close monitoring.
One of the dead victims, a 32 years old pregnant woman with bleeding disorder, died after a still birth and already had a post-mortem examination conducted on her before her Lassa status was confirmed.
This had exposed a lot of people to the disease especially the pathologist who performed the post-mortem.
A resident doctor on the pathological team from the Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology is also believed to have been infected with the disease and is currently under admission at the LUTH isolation centre.
Mr. Bode, who visited the isolation centre, urged all LUTH workers to maintain heightened level of alert in the wake of this outbreak and observe universal precautions in handling all suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever.
He said the teaching hospital has been working closely with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in handling a number of diseases of pubic importance such as rabies, cholera, Lassa fever and the recent diarrhoea disease at the Queen’s College, Lagos.
“Both the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health have responded swiftly to contain this present Lassa fever outbreak by mobilising human and material resources to trace the sources and extent of the disease, follow up on potential contacts, identify early and test suspected cases,” he said.
The doctor said the health facility has adequate materials for containment of the disease while drugs have been made available to treat anyone confirmed with the disease.
“The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Nigeria has also been contacted. Two other suspected cases from Lagos State are also presently admitted and quarantined while undergoing confirmatory laboratory tests,” he added.
Signs and symptoms for the diseases include fever, general weakness, muscle and joint pains, prostration and malaise headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and abdominal pain.
In severe cases, facial swelling, fluid in the lung cavity, bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract and low blood pressure may develop.
There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.
In case of suspected cases in Lagos, the following numbers can be notified -08058019466, 08058744780, 07035521015 and 08023299445.