Lassa fever: Bauchi records 15 new cases, 3 confirmed dead
…Patients isolated at ATBUTH for treatment
From Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
No fewer than 15 new cases of the dreaded Lassa fever infection have been discovered in Bauchi State, out of which three have been confirmed dead, while others are presently receiving treatment at the Infectious Diseases Isolation Centre, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi.
Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, (BASPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Muhammad disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the situation, saying that the remaining 12 suspected victims are presently under surveillance by officials of the agency and other health care agencies in the State.
He disclosed that doctors are currently afraid of contacts with patients with all forms of fever in the State, a situation that has prompted stakeholders meeting to tackle the issue through the universal safety practice.
Dr. Muhammad, however, said that as at the time of the briefing there was no record of any death in the State since the outbreak, stressing that health officials are doing everything possible to curtail the outbreak.
He further said that the 15 samples of the suspected cases have been sent to the National Disease Control Centre in Abuja for testing to authenticate them, stating that Lassa fever epidemic is not new in the State which he described as “an endemic state for Lassa fever.”
“We heard of the news of some deaths in Kano as a result of Lassa fever and there are a lot of speculations going on regarding Bauchi State. This year in Bauchi, we have recorded 15 suspected cases of Lassa fever withthreealready confirmed dead while others haveturned out to be negatively infected.”
“What happened was that, a lady who lives in Kano came back to Bauchi to see her family and stayed for some days in Bauchi for some time and later travelled to a village in Toro LGA. The highest and greatest risk Local Government Areas in the State for Lassa fever are Toro, Bauchi and Tafawa Balewa where we have many cases”, he added.
The medical doctor added: “So she went there and that was where the infection started, but I don’t want to say anything more because as an epidemiologist, I don’t talk about what didn’t happen here in Bauchi. But the initial stage of the infection was Toro.”
He said in December last year, the National Centre for Disease Control sent a mail to them informing them of a possible outbreak of these diseases this year, advising them to watch out for the outbreak of Lassa fever, yellow fever and meningitis in the State.
“They said we should keep watching from December last year to March this year and be active in surveillance. We are on the alert; in fact, almost all our money in this agency has been channelled towards surveillance. Our doctors and nurses are afraid because you cannot know whether anybody that has fever is suffering from Lassa fever or not. We have told our doctors that any patient that comes with fever should be regarded as Lassa fever-infected person,” he stated.