by Chi Ibe
The lack the facilities for early and easy diagnosis of Lassa fever has claimed about 5, 000 lives in Jos, Chief Medical Director of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Ishaya Pam has said.
On Wednesday, February 6 at the sensitisation workshop on Lassa fever for health care workers/professionals and staff of the ministry, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Pam added the hospital also records between 300,000 to 500,000 cases of the disease on a yearly basis and at least two people have already died from the disease in Plateau State this year.
According to reports, Pam who was represented by a consultant on Public Health, Prof Chika Ogbenna, lamented that the nearest facility for diagnosing the disease was located miles away at Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.
The Punch reports:
Pam, who described the disease as very deadly, said the fastest ways to avoid its spread were early diagnosis, isolation of infected persons and treatment.
He said 80 per cent of patients were mild with no symptoms, while the remaining 20 per cent presented a multi-systemic disease. He described the disease as not easily identifiable, as it presents symptoms as in malaria or cold conditions.
“In this instance, it is only quick diagnosis that can give accurate information on infected persons and because of the lack of appropriate facility nearby, we have had to rely on Irrua’s, which is very far from Jos,” he said.
The team leader, Dr. Emmanuel Akpakpuna, said the team was deployed in Jos by the Health minister immediately he learnt of the outbreak of the disease, adding that the team had been visiting endemic areas around the state to isolate victims and those who might have had contacts with them to prevent the disease from spreading.
He said as part of their mandate, the team would identify the source of the disease, create public awareness and campaigns and ascertain the magnitude of the outbreak.