Following the confirmation of deaths of two patients, a pregnant woman and another of Lassa Fever at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, a public alert was issued to prevent the burial of the pregnant victim by family.
The 39 year old woman reportedly presented at the hospital with abnormal bleeding The first was a 39-year old pregnant died shortly on admission after delivery of a stillbirth.
Statement from the hospital management indicated that a post-mortem examination conducted on her confirmed her Lassa Fever status which was earlier suspected.
Unfortunately, Her corpse was said to have been released to her family for burial before the autopsy report was issued thus prompting a ‘stop burial’ order placed on the family by Lagos State.
In an urgent memo issued by the State Epidemiology Unit to Ikorodu Local Government Area and copied all five Local Council Development Areas, all heads of departments were directed to immediately trace all contacts of persons with the dead woman.
According to the notice which read in parts: “They should also prevent the body from being buried at home.
“The address would be posted as soon as it is confirmed. Meanwhile, all officers in lmota are by this notice directed to mount surveillance in lmota town to know where a woman who died in LUTH today was taken.
“In addition, we should all note that on NO account should a patient suspected to have any of the viral hemorrhagic fevers be moved or transferred from where he/she is once that diagnosis is being entertained.
“The officer there should contact his superiors locally plus the state epidemiology unit at Alausa and receive clear instructions on what to do next”, read the memo.
The notice which was signed by Dr Akinbode Akinbode also added, “Moving or transferring the suspect will only ignorantly expose more people and create unnecessary, irrational panic. Detain the patient there and make the call. We have two Lassa fever suspects admitted at Mainland Hospital, Yaba.”
However, at the LUTH, no fewer than 100 hospital workers who were allegedly exposed to this index case are currently being monitored.
A resident doctor from the Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology who took part in the autopsy has been confirmed positive with the disease but management says he is responding to treatment at the isolation ward of the hospital.
The Chief Medical Director, Professor Chris Bode, had visited the Staff at the to offer reassurances.
Bode appealed to all LUTH workers to maintain a heightened level of alert in the wake of this new outbreak and observe universal precautions in handling all suspected cases of this viral hemorrhagic fever.
Lassa Fever is characterized as an acute febrile Illness which presents with bleeding from orifices and could become fatal within 6-21days of infection.
The host of the viral infection is the multimammate rat, which has many breasts and resides in the bushes around residential houses.
The virus is known to spread by droppings of the rate on foods, from its urine and pass on to humans when food is consumed. Transmission can also occur by contacts with blood and body fluids of a person already infected.
The Hospital management has advised members of the public in case of any suspected case of Lassa fever, to notify the response team in LUTH on 08058019466, 08058744780, 07035521015 and 08023299445