The South East Virology Centre, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, weekend, called for an emergency intervention by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Enugu State government in tackling recurring outbreaks of Lassa fever at Adani in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state.
The call became necessary following reports that some lassa fever patients hitherto treated at the centre in the last three months came from Adani.
Dr Ernest Agbata, medical doctor, who contracted the virus at his hospital at Adani, said he did not know that the virus was behind ‘most mysterious’ deaths at remote agrarian communities of the LGA of late.
Dr Agbata said he had so far diagnosed fifteen patients of lassa fever virus at Adani and sent them to the virology centre in Abakaliki for treatment in the last three months.
He called on the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Enugu State government to establish an emergency outpost in Uzo-Uwani.
Quoting him, “I started working at Adani in 2013. Every January, February and March, we record many mortalities.
“We don’t know what was wrong until I contracted lassa fever last year from a year and eight months old baby who bled from different orifices.
‘’We were three. One of us died. This year again, we had the very first case in February. That day, we made the diagnoses of lassa.
“My doctor resigned.”
Dr Emeka Onwe, the chief medical director of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, called for the sensitization of the people of Adani and creation of emergency procedures to facilitate movement of Lassa fever patients from the area to Abakaliki.
Onwe stated that, “They should make available ambulances and also embark on health education of the community.”
The project medical referent, Doctors Without Borders in Ebonyi State, Dr Luigi Sportelli, said, “It is important we continue the fight, especially in the peripheral facilities where cases can be found and recognized early enough to be sent to treatment centres’.
‘’Lassa fever is a disease that is strong in the season. Most of the cases are there in the dry season in the first quarter of the year but there are also sporadic cases throughout the year. There is the need to keep the attention high even during the rainy season.”