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LASSA FEVER CLAIMS LIVES OF 3 MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN EBONYI

Ebonyi State Government has confirmed the death of two medical personnel following an outbreak of Lassa Fever virus at Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.

Briefing newsmen in Abakaliki, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, explained that twelve cases had been recorded so far while four had been confirmed positive.

The dead victims whose names were not given by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Umezuruike, include a medical doctor posted to a rural hospital in Afikpo North Local Government Area of the state and a nurse who assisted in the conduct of a surgery on a patient who had uvula case at Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.

Dr. Umezuruike explained that a third victim whose case had not been confirmed was also a medical doctor who assisted in the conducted the surgery on the patient.

However, the patient they operated upon and who was said to have contracted the virus from his village was treated and discharged.

Dr. Umezurike explained that the diagnosis of the disease was carried out at a Virology Centre built by the State government.

The Chairman Nigeria Medical Association in the State, Dr. Austin Ikwudinma said medical doctors at the hospital were apprehensive of the outbreak pointing out that the victims might not have died if the Virology Centre built by the State government was functioning optimally.

When Radio Nigeria visited Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA 2), the Accident and Emergency Ward where the victims were rushed to was deserted although it was gathered that it had been fumigated.

Two women who were at the hospital expressed worry over the development and urged Federal and State government to put measures in place to stop further spread of the virus.

The medical personnel who died recently made it eleven lives the health sector in the state had so far lost to Lassa fever since its first outbreak in the state in 2005.

In the mean time, a committee to prevent the recent case of Lassa fever in Ebonyi State from spreading into Enugu state has been inaugurated.

Inaugurating the committee in the Enugu, the Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Enugu State branch, Dr. Cajetan Onyedum described the situation as worrisome.

Dr. Onyedum expressed regret that three of his colleagues had died as a result of the disease in Ebonyi State.

The Head of the committee, an expert in infectious disease, Dr. Uche Unigwe said the team would strategize to equip medical personnel in the state.

Dr. Unigwe advised members of the public to promote good hygiene and avoid contact with blood as well as body fluid while taking care of sick persons.

UJU UMUNNA

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