Lassa fever outbreak has killed two patients including a pregnant woman at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, LUTH, BreezeReporters exclusively gathered.
This is the first case of Lassa fever in densely populated city of Lagos since January 2017 when the disease claimed the life of a 51-year-old man who lived in Ilasan, Lekki area of the state.
According to a source in LUTH, a patient who happened to be a pregnant woman was rushed to the teaching hospital but she died on the 18th of July, 2017 following severe bleeding.
It was gathered that an autopsy was done on her corpse and the result showed that the expectant mother died of Lassa fever.
The source who does not want to be named revealed that the A and E section of LUTH which ought to be quarantined after the incident, runs normal as if nothing happened, adding that this potentially put the health workers at risk of contracting the disease.
BreezeReporters further gathered that officials of the state ministry of health visited the hospital and advised that the facility be shut but authorities at LUTH refuses to heed the advise.
Barely two weeks after the first case, another patient has died of the outbreak, a text message sent on Friday, 4th August, 2017 to staff by general secretary of the Association of resident Doctors in the hospital confirmed.
The text message reads, “Dear colleagues, there was a second confirmed death from Lassa fever and another suspected cases in LUTH. We emplore(sic) every member to take adequate precautions as we carry out our duties. We shall continue to engage the mgt. on protecting every member of staff. Thank you. Signed Gen Sec.
The source lamented that the workers at Luth and the patients are at the risk of contracting Lassa fever just because the incident is not in the public domain.
Authorities at the Lagos state ministry of health have yet confirm the fresh cases of Lassa fever and the ministry is yet to respond to an inquiry made by BreezeReporters on the incident.
What is Lassa Fever?
Lassa fever is caused by a species of rodents called the Natal multimammate rat, the common African rat, or the African soft-furred rat. The virus is transmitted when the droppings, that is the urine or faeces of the rat- the natural reservoir for the virus- comes in contact with foodstuffs or in the process of the rat accessing grain stores, either in silos or in residences.
The rodents live in houses with humans and deposit excreta on floors, tables, beds and food. Consequently, the virus is transmitted to humans through cuts and scratches, or inhaled via dust particles in the air. In some regions these rodents are also consumed as food. Secondary transmission of the virus between humans occurs through direct contact with infected blood or bodily secretions. This occurs mainly between individuals caring for sick patients, although anyone who comes into close contact with a person carrying the virus is at risk of infection. Nosocomial transmission, that is the transmission that occurs as a result of treatment in a hospital and outbreaks in healthcare facilities in endemic areas, represent a significant burden on the healthcare system.