By Isaiah Tochukwu
Enugu State Government has confirmed the fourth case of Lassa fever in the state. The Permanent Secretary Enugu State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi gave the confirmation in telephone to our reporter on Tuesday
Agujiobi, however, said that the patient had been going through intensive medical care in an unnamed health facility. “Yes, we have officially confirmed the fourth case of suspected Lassa fever in the state. The patient is undergoing thorough and intensive care in a medical facility’’, Akujiobi said.
The permanent secretary, who declined further details on the recent case, assured that within the week there would be a press briefing or official statement on the matter.
Waffi tv gathered that among the four confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the state, two of the patients had died; one died at Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu and the other at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, within a space of one week.
Meanwhile, the state government had commenced sensitization and awareness step-down on the outbreak of Lassa fever in 17 council areas as well as communities in the state.
The Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Healthcare Care Development Agency, ENS-PHCDA, Dr. George Ugwu, told newsmen during a train the trainers’ workshop that Public Health officials needed to take the right message to the rural people.
“We want to further deepen information and awareness on Lassa fever as well as risk factors and life-style, which our people at the rural communities must avoid to keep themselves and everyone safe; since prevention is better than cure.
“The training covers symptoms, case definition and appropriate way of sharing Lassa fever message without causing panic since the government through the state ministry of health and the agency is on top of the situation and doing all possible to contain it.
“We are also advising our PHC workers, who are the first health responders at the communities, to be suspicious of all feverish symptoms; take all personal preventive measures; ensure regular hand washing and disinfecting their PHC facilities always’’, he said.
“Our people should stop drying garri, abacha and other food items in open fields; cover all food and food handling containers/plates and ensure that they do not eat leftover food, which is uncovered,’’ he said.
It was also gathered that the state had done 307 contacts tracing for those exposed to the various confirmed Lassa fever cases in the state, stressing that 251 contact tracing done for health workers in health facilities within the state and 56 contacts tracing for family members and relatives of patients confirmed already.