Martins Ifijeh

The Management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has denied recent social media reports credited to an unnamed ‘senior doctor’ that 13 persons have died in the hospital due to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode said the report was fake as no doctor made such claim, adding that HPV does not cause sudden mass deaths in humans, and there were no such deaths in the hospital.

He said: “It will seem that while many have discovered the freedom of expression unleashed by our new found passion for social media, its attendant responsibilities are yet to be appreciated. Otherwise, what does it benefit the purveyor(s) of such wickedly mischievous falsities who unleash such misinformation to cause mass anxiety without informing, entertaining or educating the populace?”

“For quite some time, it has been a regular feature on social media and mass email messages to put up some spurious claims and then give it traction by attributing it to “a senior doctor in LUTH”. Our esteemed Hospital has done nothing to attract such a reputation. We should check popular sites such as Wikipedia to verify any such spurious claims and establish the truthfulness of any unhelpful and misleading information,” he said.

According to him, HPV causes a number of diseases in man with the ordinary wart the commonest of them. “The virus is also known to cause cancer of the cervix in females, genital cancer and cancer of the throat. Occasionally, it can prevent pregnancy. The virus is found only in humans and it can be transmitted through sexual contact and infect the anus and genitals. HPV vaccines can prevent the most common types of infection and it is now recommended to be given in young girls between the ages of 9-13 to prevent cervical cancer.

He said it was therefore absurd to attribute the discovery of the old disease to any LUTH doctor as it damages the ethical standards of the Nigerian Medical community when such reckless claims are made. “There are well laid down peer-reviewed protocols for doctors announcing the emergence of any new disease. If It is not through social media or by outlandish unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources. Why then make such claims? Perhaps someone secretly chuckles at the discomfiture of many who are alarmed by the falsehood,” Prof. Bode added.