59 Lassa fever contacts identified in Delta and Anambra

The Federal Government on Tuesday said it has identified no fewer than 59 people who might have had direct contact with Lassa fever victims in Delta and Anambra states.

It said they are currently being monitored for symptoms of the disease.

The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said this on Tuesday.

According to Ihekweazu, a 54-year-old man had presented himself at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra state for treatment but was confirmed to have the disease on August 17, 2016, the next day.

Ihekweazu said, “On presentation at the Accident and Emergency of NAUTH, Lassa fever was suspected, blood samples were collected and sent to the reference laboratory at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State, where the diagnosis of Lassa fever was confirmed. He died within an hour of admission.

“The state public health authorities in Anambra and Delta states have commenced a public health response including epidemiological investigations, contact tracing and the prepositioning of drugs and supplies. As of August 22, 2016 (Monday), 40 contacts have been identified in Delta State and 19 in Anambra State. All contacts are currently being monitored for symptoms of Lassa fever.

“The Delta and Anambra states ministries of health are coordinating the responses in their respective states, while the NCDC provides support and guidance to limit further spread.

“This case again illustrates the importance of following clinical protocols to confirm the cause of febrile illnesses, especially malaria, before treatment. Regarding the confirmed case of Lassa fever, we are working closely with the relevant state government teams to limit further spread.”

He assured that the agency’s communication channels are always open for information and reporting of any cases of Lassa Fever.

“The NCDC will continue to keep all our channels of communication open for information, verification and reporting on Lassa fever and other disease emergencies. The Centre’s 24/7 toll-free line can be reached via 0800-970000-10; and the Twitter account handle @NCDCgov, and Facebook page @nigeriacdc are always available for inquiry and updates.”

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