Lassa fever: FMC Umuahia confirms case

*Upgrade us to Teaching Hospital – MD

The case of lassa fever in Abia state of a 7-year old admitted into the children’s ward and who died in the Federal Medical Center, has been confirmed.Speaking with TRN in Umuahia, the Medical Director of the Center, Azubuike Onyebuchi said already, blood samples have been taken and was confirmed as lassa fever, stating “all the health personnel and all the people that came into contact with the patient have been placed under surveillance and we have reported to all the sister agencies we are supposed to report to, including SCDC, the state Ministry of Health and others. Every thing has been done according to international best practices.As a result therefore, he said “We have also sealed off all the wards the patient passed through and disinfected and closed down all the wards for the period of surveillance. “All the personnel involved are under surveillance to make sure everyone is safe”.This, he said happened on Saturday, the 2nd of November, adding “Friday (November22) will be 21 days of the surveillance, that happened about 17 days ago.”By Friday, that 21 days (surveillance) would have elapsed and if nobody comes down with lassa fever, it means that we have conquered that cycle”.According to him, the hospital have traced all the contacts, including the relations and are being monitored daily.The patient, the MD said, came in from one of the villages from Abia, stating that the issue is of “prevention is better than cure”, warning, “people should know about lassa fever and make sure they don’t have rats around the house to contaminate the food that they eat, wash their hands frequently and if there is any fever, present themselves to any health facility for examination and not to assume malaria or typhoid”.He disclosed that in the hospital “We have our Health Infection Prevention Committee and they are working, making sure we carry our patients in the international best practice”, stating that the hospital is well equipped in the sense that they can detect, have our staff trained on High Index Suspicion.On the preparedness of the hospital to tackle similar challenges in future, he said “What we have done as a hospital is to have a very good isolation ward which I have just renovated and putting it in a condition to receive this kind of viral haemologic fever and all other cases that need to be isolated”.He expressed his hope that the hospital’s linkage with the referal center in the South East region, which is the Federal Teaching Center with the Biology center and elsewhere and with this, “we will be able to make our diagnosis of lassa fever”, stating that the hospital has sent the samples to those places to make sure it does not miss the diagnosis.Speaking on the age-long request of making FMC Umuahia a Teaching Hospital, the MD said it has been the request of the hospital to be converted to a Teaching Hospital, pointing out that they have been talking to all the relevant agencies for the federal government to consider upgrading FMC Umuahia to a Teaching Hospital.

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