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Three killed, 292 on watch list as Lassa fever hits Kano (updated)

Three killed, 292 on watch list as Lassa fever hits Kano (updated)
January 22
13:30 2020
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Three persons have reportedly died of Lassa fever at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. This has caused panic across the state.

TheCable learnt that those, who had contact with the deceased while they were sick, have been quarantined and are receiving treatment.

A total of 292 persons are currently on watch list over the disease. Kano state Government has confirmed the outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state which has so far claimed the lives of three (3) persons comprising of two doctors and the patient believed to be the first victim.

Aminu Tsanyawa commissioner for health, told reporters on Wednesday during a press conference, that the ministry, currently has a total of 292 persons who had contact with the said victims, on its watch list.

He said, the first case was a 28-year-old pregnant woman from Gwale local government area who fell sick two weeks after the death of her mother and was referred to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital from a private hospital but also passed away on the 1st of January, 2020.

“That following the report of the outbreak, and confirmation of samples, the state government swung into action so as to expeditiously curtail the spread of the viral disease to this end, the state’s isolation center at Year Gaya has been activated,” he said.

“Other measures taken include; activation of rapid response team, propositioning of drugs and other consumables, contact tracing as well as daily coordination meeting at the state’s emergency operation center amongst other.”

Tsanyawa urged the general public to disregard any mere allegation and rumors and ensure proper hand hygiene, strengthen environmental sanitation, avoid contact with wild animals and rodents.

Other safety measures according to him are; people should avoid poorly cooked meat, avoid contact with suspected or confirmed cases or items soiled by them and urge the public to report any suspected case to the nearest health facility nearest to them.

However, Francis Faduyi, national president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has also confirmed that two members of the association, have died in the outbreak and another one has been hospitalised in Kano.

Faduyi told reporters in Kano on Wednesday that “we came here to commiserate with people of Kano and AKTH over this incident. We are very happy with quick response of Kano state government.”

Hospital sources had earlier told TheCable on Wednesday that a woman who gave birth through cesarean operation is suspected to be the index case of the disease.

The source said a house officer who assisted in the surgery died recently.

“A house officer that died recently assisted in the C/S that was done to the woman,” he said.

“The late Dr Habib who died recently had contact with the patient in ICU. The SR that operated the patient is currently sick and has been isolated.”

Another source said measures have been put in place to have the situation under control.

“Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital is in the process of securing Ribavirin for all the primary contacts of the patient. Healthcare workers should be vigilant and cautious,” he said.

Also, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) asked all those who have come in contact with the patients to comply with treatment regimen.

“My dear colleagues, It is sad we’ve lost our colleagues within a week. Of note are the 2 cases of suspected Lassa fever (whose samples were taken to confirm diagnosis),” a statement by the NMA read.

“While awaiting the results. There was an emergency meeting this evening for a harmonious effort between the Kano State MOH & AKTH.”

“The two sides have shown commitment so far; Suspected cases received IV Ribavrin and were transferred out to Yargaya Isolation center; All primary contacts are to be on quarantine; Contact tracing will continue from tomorrow morning (all those identified should please comply, for early treatment).”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Lassa fever is endemic in West African countries.

A person can contract the disease when they come in contact with food or water contaminated by urine or faeces of a species of rat known to be the host.

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