Lassa fever: 2 doctors, healthcare worker dead as Oyo confirms

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Lassa fever has killed two medical doctors and one ancillary health worker  in  a private hospital in Igboho, an agrarian community in Oorelope Local Government Area of Oyo State.

Chairman,  Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Oyo State branch, Dr. Ayotunde Fasunla, and Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Olabode Ladipo, made this known to journalists in Ibadan, yesterday, in separate interviews confirming the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state with 19 cases.

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They said  latest development has increased the death toll to four from a total of 19 persons that have tested positive to Lassa fever in the state within the past two months.

The NMA chairman said the three deceased healthcare workers had attended to some patients in Igboho at the private health facility, who probably presented themselves for malaria treatment, and contracted Lasser fever in the process.

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“The NMA announces, with deepest regret and sorrow, the demise of two of her members and one health worker from Lassa Fever. The tragic deaths occurred within a space of 72 hours. It is indeed a sad week, and our eyes are still soaked in tears. While we thought that COVID-19 had done its worst, we are now dealing with another onslaught of a Lassa fever outbreak. Furthermore, we are worried about other health workers, who have had contact with the diseased unknowingly. We have advised them to quarantine and report if they develop any symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever.”

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Commissioner for Health, Ladipo, said  four health workers from a private health facility were admitted into a treatment centre in the early days of the week adding: “Upon diagnostic investigations, all the four were confirmed positive of Lassa fever. Unfortunately, three of them, consisting of two doctors and another hospital staff died despite all efforts at caring for them by experts.”

He said the Oyo State Ministry of Health has continued to make efforts at curtailing the spread of the outbreak of Lassa fever since the first case was detected in January this year.

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