The Commissioner for Information in Abia State, Mr. John Okiyi, has confirmed the epidemic at the Federal Medical Centre, in Umuahia.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Okiyi made the disclosure in a statement in Umuahia on Monday, saying that the government and the hospital management had swung into action to check the spread of the disease.
“The Abia State Government is aware of the reported outbreak of Lassa Fever at FMC, Umuahia.
“The state Ministry of Health is working with the authorities of the FMC to ensure full containment of the disease,’’ he said.
The commissioner added that prophylactic treatment of others, who might have come in contact with the victims had commenced in earnest.
“We have fully deployed all our emergency medical response systems to instantly ensure full containment and management of the outbreak,’’ Okiyi said.
The commissioner assured the people that drug for the treatment of the disease was in adequate supply in the state.
According to him, there is no cause for panic as the disease can be successfully treated, especially if diagnosed early.
However, the authorities of the hospital have said that it was too early to conclude that the deceased contracted the disease in the hospital.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Chuku Abali, said it would be premature to conclude that because a medical doctor in FMC died of the disease, then there was an outbreak of the disease in the hospital.
Abali said that the deceased tested positive did not mean that she contracted the disease until the hospital was through with the investigations.
“We cannot say she got it at the FMC or in any private clinic. If a patient is brought to the FMC from the village with haemorrhage, you cannot conclude that it is lassa fever.
“You know malaria and other diseases can cause similar symptoms,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Abali confirmed that a team of investigators from the National Centre for Disease Control had arrived at the hospital to carry out thorough investigations on the matter.
The CMD called for restraint until the end of the investigations, saying that the findings of the team would be made public.
He gave assurance that the hospital was fully equipped to handle any ailment, including lassa fever, but insisted that proper diagnosis had to be carried out first to be sure.
NAN learnt that the deceased, whose identity had not been ascertained as of the time of filing the report, contracted the disease after handling a child in the hospital suspected to be suffering from the disease.
The doctor reportedly died on Sunday at Irua Specialist Hospital in Edo.