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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Nigerian Officials Confirm Lassa Fever Claims Four Lives in Army Hospital

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has confirmed that Lassa Fever was responsible for the death of three health workers and one patient at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna (44 NARHK), Kaduna State.

The disease centre said four of the six blood samples from suspected cases at the hospital sent to the Bayero University Teaching Hospital in Kano have been confirmed for Lassa fever.

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The Director-General of the NCDC, Jide Idris, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, noting that 25 close contacts of all the cases are now being monitored and have been placed on prophylactic medicine.

Following earlier reports from the army’s medical authorities, which linked the symptoms of the deceased to what it described as acute Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF), the Kaduna State Government ordered an immediate investigation.

However, giving further details of the confirmed infection, the NCDC DG reported that Nigeria has recorded 2,621 suspected Lassa fever cases, with 476 confirmed and 84 deaths as of 18 February.

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NCDC response

Mr Idris said the activated multi-sectoral multi-disciplinary Incident Management System has taken distribution of medical supplies for case management, infection prevention and control, and laboratory diagnosis in all Lassa fever treatment centres in the country.

He noted that the agency has also started capacity-building exercises of some healthcare workers across all the geopolitical zones on Lassa fever preparedness, readiness, and response through the pilot Lassa fever clinical management fellowship.

READ ALSO: Kaduna govt orders investigation into deaths of four in Army hospital

He urged Nigerians to always keep their environment clean, and block all holes in their houses to prevent the entry of rats and other rodents.

He also advised healthcare workers to always practice standard infection prevention and control practices.

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Lassa fever

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic (excessive bleeding) illness that is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.

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