Fear As Doctor, Nurses Attending To Patients Contract Lassa Fever In Ondo

There is palpable fear as three medical practitioners working with the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Ikare Akoko, under Akoko North East Local Government Area of the state have been infected with Lassa Fever, SaharaReporters learnt. 

A doctor and two nurses contracted the viral disease after attending to one of the patients in the hospital’s ward last week. 

The patient hospitalised in the female ward was said to have firstly showed some symptoms relating to the disease and was placed under intensive watch. 

The affected doctor and nurses were among 15 medical practitioners attending to sick patients in some of the isolated wards in the government-owned hospital. 

It was gathered that a young nurse (name withheld) among the affected medical personnel had already tested positive to the disease. 

The affected nurse has been moved to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, where she is being quarantined in order to avoid further spread of the disease.

A source in the hospital said, “About three weeks ago, we had a patient in the female ward of the hospital who was showing some symptoms and we had to nurse her for 13 days.

“But her temperature persisted and we had to refer her to FMC, Owo. 

“By the time they concluded the test on her on Wednesday, she tested positive to Lassa Fever. 

“In fact, it was shortly after we noticed a doctor in the hospital showing the symptoms with two other nurses in the wards.” 

According to a source, blood samples of the doctor and nurses with other medical practitioners, who had attended to the patients in the wards were collected for testing. 

She noted that the laboratory attendants where the blood samples were to be conducted complained about the number of samples. 

The source however, raised the alarm over the ingenuity of the state government to fight the Lassa Fever outbreak.

Another source, who is a volunteer with the Nigeria Red Cross Society, confirmed the spread of the viral disease to SaharaReporters. 

He said that members of the group had begun an advocacy visit to stakeholders in the health sector of the state in order to curtail the spread. 

In the last one month, Ondo State has recorded no fewer than 20 deaths due to the outbreak of Lassa Fever. 

The disease has also spread to six local government areas in the state mostly Akoko Council Area, which shares boundaries with Edo and Kogi states. 

As a result of this, anxiety has continue to grip medical workers attending to Lassa Fever patients. 

Dr Wahab Adegbenro, Commissioner for Health in the state, disclosed that the government had begun to sensitising people about Lassa Fever which is based on environmental issue.

He noted that the fight against the scourge can only be resolved through proper environmental management, hygienic food processing procedures and stoppage of harmful habits that aid the spread of the virus.