Anambra Registers First Lassa Fever Case, Sends Patient to Ebonyi 


David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

A student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik) in Anambra State, has been confirmed the first Lassa fever patient in the state.

THISDAY learnt that the state Emergency Response team has moved the victim to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State for quarantining to ensure decontamination.

The Lassa fever case from Unizik was confirmed Friday at the Chukwukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), where she was transferred from the School’s Medical Centre.

The hospital management  said Friday it collected specimen of the victim and sent to Irruah, Edo State and the result came out positive

However, the Acting Chief Medical Advisory Council CMAC of COOUTH, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Ezebialu, who signed the circular, said there was no cause for alarm.

Meanwhile, Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala, has said that the state was ready to contain the disease, as “everything had been put in place.”

Addressing reporters yesterday at the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) in Awka, Okpala said the state was following the federal government guidelines.

“A few days ago, the state’s Health Emergency Response Team responded to the notification of a suspected case of Lassa fever.

“We followed the national guidelines in managing the case, from isolation and sample collection to sample testing.

“The result of the laboratory testing came out positive for Lassa fever. With this development, the state now has an index case.

“The case was safely transported to Viral Centre in FETHA, Abakiliki. The Emergency Response Team has successfully decontaminated that isolation ward which accommodated the index case.

“In continuation of the state’s response to the index case, the state activated the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) on Wednesday, 29th January 2020. The centre is operating under the direction of the national coordination centre.

“We have constituted four contact tracing teams in different locations for the listing and follow-up management of contacts of the case.

“The team has started contact listing. We have also conducted active case search at COOUTH Awka and NAU Medical Centre.

“We want to reassure the citizens of the state that we are prepared for the emergency situation.

“The State Ministry of Health and its partners in the Emergency Operations Centre have taken all the necessary precautions for managing the situation. Everything is under contro”

“As citizens of the state, we need to be aware of the basic measures to take to protect ourselves in our homes, schools, markets, places of worship, etc. Lassa fever is spread through.

“We are at alert and fully prepared to respond to any outbreak of Lassa fever in the state. We have investigated and will continue to investigate rumours of outbreaks,” the commissioner said.