The first death due to Lassa fever has occurred in Ogun State.
The Ogun State Commissioner of Health, Babatunde Ipaye, disclosed this at a press conference in Abeokuta. He said the government did its best to save the victim, who died on Sunday, and has contacted the deceased family for approval to bury the victim based on WHO protocol.
Mr. Ipaye said the 28-year-old victim was admitted into the isolation unit of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, which was specifically equipped, staffed and funded by the state government to manage confirmed cases of Lassa fever.
“The patient received a nine-day course of Ribavirin, potent antibiotics, appropriate blood transfusions and necessary psychosocial support.
“We were only waiting to celebrate the completion of medication today and take a blood sample to confirm cure when unexpected complication set in yesterday, Saturday the 13th February, 2016,” she said.
Mr. Ipaye advised Ogun residents not to panic because of the death. He said none of the 121 primary contacts with the deceased have shown any signs of the deadly fever.
“The first 10 days of active surveillance on these contacts have been free of any suspected case and we hope to keep daily communication and visits with these contact in the next 11 days to make up the longest incubation period of 21 days,” he said.
The commissioner said the second person diagnosed with lassa fever in the state was still under care. He said the 12 weeks pregnant victim had recovered from initial fatigue, body weakness and depression.
“Like the first case, she also travelled into Abeokuta from Kogi State. As a responsible government we have taken full responsibility for her care and she has been on medication with ribavirin for three days now.
“We have been in contact with her family members and presently have mounted active surveillance on the 60 primary contacts of this patient,” he said.
The commissioner implored care providers to alert the Department of Public Health of the State Ministry of Health or the Local Government Area Health Departments closest to them of any suspected case.
Lassa fever is believed to be spread by rats.