Four suspected cases of Lassa fever discovered in Cross River

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The Cross River State Epidemiologist Mrs Inyang Ekpenyong, has said that four suspected cases of the disease were found in the state.

Of these numbers, three were confirmed to be negative while the last suspected case was discovered in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) Calabar.

Hear her, “The last suspected case was discovered in UCTH this month; we are still waiting for the result after we sent samples to the laboratory in Irua, Edo State.”

Ekpenyong said that between December 2019 and January 2020, the state has had four suspected cases of the disease, in which three were confirmed to be negative.

“The last suspected case discovered in UCTH this month, we are still waiting for the result after we sent samples to the laboratory in Irua, Edo State.

“We have sent out messages to our entire sister agencies and health care providers to intensify surveillance and work with the media to create more awareness, anyone who sees something should say something”, she said.

The Cross River Commissioner for Health Dr. Betta Edu on Tuesday advised residents of the state not to panic as there was no confirmed case of Lassa fever in its health facilities.

Edu, who made the call in a stakeholders meeting on emergency preparedness said the public should observe strict preventive measures to forestall an outbreak of the disease in the state.

She said in responds to the increasing number of Lassa fever cases in neighbouring states, the government of Cross River had activated an Emergency Response and Surveillance Team to coordinate response activities across the state.

According to her, the team would be a collaborative effort of all stakeholders which included the Federal and State Ministries of Health, the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH).

Others were the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, United Nations agencies and other partners.

“We will be receiving Personal Protective equipment (PPE) and other consumables on Wednesday Jan. 29 which would be distributed across all the health facilities in the state.

“Also to be received are ribavirin and other supportive drugs and intravenous fluids for treatment of cases to prevent mortality.

“In the case of any suspected case, the Disease Surveillance and notification Officer in that Local Government Area must be reached, while Ambulance services would be provided to move clients”, she said.

She however gave the number of the State Epidemiologist, 08038699957 urging residents to call in the case of any suspicion.

Also, the Chairman Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of UCTH, Prof. Ogbu Ngim said the hospital was better prepared and ready to tackle any outbreak with the presence of an Isolation Centre in the facility.

Ngim said the Teaching Hospital was the final bus-stop as whatever happened in the other healthcare centres either starts or ends with it and they were ready to play the role.

He, however, called on the State Government to have an open line of communication so that there would be a seamless operation among all agencies should the need arise.

The Cross River Coordinator of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Rilwan Raji who was represented by the agency’s Surveillance Focal Person, Mr Bernard Ntui said they were ready.

Raji said they were present in the 18 LGAs of the state, have surveillance focal persons in all the health facilities, community informants and were working with Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to ensure that any outbreak was checked.