Thursday, 7 February 2013

‘Lassa fever kills 5,000 annually in Jos’ written by by Jude Owuamanam (Punch)

Chief Medical Director of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Ishaya Pam, has said about 5,000

patients die in the hospital from Lassa Fever yearly.

He said the hospital also records between 300,000 to 500,000 cases of the disease on a yearly basis.

No fewer than two persons had died from the disease in Plateau State this year.

Pam spoke at a sensitisation workshop on Lassa fever for health care workers/professionals and staff of the

ministry, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, on


The CMD, who was represented by a consultant on Public Health, Prof Chika Ogbenna, lamented that the

hospital lacked the facilities for early and easy diagnosis of the disease, adding that the nearest facility for

diagnosing the disease could only be found at Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo  State.

Pam, who described the disease as very deadly, said the fastest ways to avoid its spread were early

diagnosis, isolation of infected persons and treatment.

He said 80 per cent of patients were mild with no symptoms, while the remaining 20 per cent presented a

multi-systemic disease. He described the disease as not easily identifiable, as it presents symptoms as in

malaria or cold conditions.

“In this instance, it is only quick diagnosis that can give accurate information on infected persons and

because of the lack of appropriate facility nearby, we have had to rely on Irrua’s, which is very far from

Jos,” he said.

The team leader, Dr. Emmanuel Akpakpuna, said the team was deployed in Jos by the Health minister

immediately he learnt of the outbreak of the disease, adding that the team had been visiting endemic areas

around the state to isolate victims and those who might have had contacts with them to prevent the disease

from spreading.

He said as part of their mandate, the team would identify the source of the disease, create public awareness

and campaigns and ascertain the magnitude of the outbreak.

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