A week ago, the State government had addressed a Press conference where it stated its response preparedness with respect to the outbreak of Lassa fever in some of its neighbouring states.
Addressing journalists today in Awka, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala said a few days ago, the State’s Health Emergency Response Team responded to the notification of a suspected case of Lassa fever, for which it followed national guidelines in managing the case from isolation and sample collection to sample testing.
It was gathered that the case happened at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku-Awka owned by the State.
The Health Commissioner revealed that the result of the laboratory test came out positive for Lassa fever and the case has been safely transported to the Southeast Zonal Viral Isolation Center in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State while the isolation ward that accommodated the index case has been successfully decontaminated by the emergency response team.
Okpala disclosed that four contact tracing teams have been set up in four locations for the listing and follow-up management of contacts of the case, adding that the teams have since commenced operations.
He maintained that the victim is in a stable condition and undergoing treatment, adding that none of those contacted has shown symptomatic signs and as such, no need for isolation.
“We want to reassure citizens of the state that we are prepared for the emergency situation and that everything is under control. As citizens, we need to be aware of the basic measures to take to protect ourselves in our homes, schools, markets, places of worship among others. We also advise our healthcare workers in public and private facilities to take precautionary measures as demanded by international standards, for their safety and the safety of their patients and loved ones. If your health worker suspects Lassa fever, advise him or her to contact your local government Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer to access proper medicare,” Okpala appealed.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association has advocated for high index suspicion among residents of the state so as to escalate any suspected case for prompt action.
The Chapter through its Chairman, Dr Emma Muonagor urged the citizens not to disregard any rumours related to the epidemic but to report immediately any symptoms are discovered.
“It is evident that this case was properly handled without any casualty yet because of the State’s high level of preparedness and for that we commend the government. We call on our people to make noise about this incident so that the consciousness will be everywhere. That way, everyone understands what is required of them to remain safe and does that,” said Dr Muonagor.
With this development, Anambra State which has hitherto, not recorded a confirmed Lassa fever case since the outbreak of the virus, now has an index case.