Lassa Fever Kills Corps Member In Cross River

A youth corps member, Onwuegbuzie Stanley Samuel, serving in Community Secondary School, Ofodua in Obubra Council of Cross River State, has been reported dead after being struck with Lassa fever attack.

The late corps member was said to have fallen ill and later died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital on Thursday.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr.InyangAsibong, while giving a recap of the incident on Friday, said that the deceased was first admitted at the General Hospital in Obubra, where he was on his primary assignment.

Asibong explained that the corps member was being treated of cerebral malaria when he was admitted at the General Hospital in Obubra for one week.

She said that after the case got worse at the General Hospital in Obubra, he was brought to UCTH in coma for further treatment.

She said that samples from the deceased was taken to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State for diagnosis, adding that the result confirmed that it was a case of Lassa fever.

She said, “The incident started about two weeks ago in Obubra; and we all know that the incubation period of Lassa fever is 3-21 days.

“The deceased is an indigene of Delta state. The last time he travelled to his home in Lagos state was during the Christmas period in December 2016 and he came back to Cross River in January 2017.

“The deceased was living in the corps members lodge in Obubra and since he came back in January, he has not left that community.

“Unfortunately, we finally lost him yesterday (May 11) after a diagnosis of Lassa fever was made and from samples we took from him and sent to Irrua Specialists Teaching Hospital.

“Sadly, the corps member contacted the disease in Cross River following the scientific duration of stay in the state since he came back from Lagos state.”

Following this incident, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has line listed over 15 persons, including the deceased’s colleagues living in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Lodge in Obubra, as being at risk.

Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, who confirmed the incident, said the situation was under control.

She said: “Unfortunately, somebody died yesterday, a corps member serving in Obubra. He got Lassa fever and was rushed to the teaching hospital in Calabar and he died there around 8pm.

“What we are essentially doing now is to see how we can reduce the panic, educate the people and send health workers to the community to do more of sensitisation, so that people would know what the disease is and how they can prevent it.”

Principal of the school where the corps member was serving, Mr. Umenyi Igiri, said: “He took ill on May 1. He was feeling feverish. He went to a clinic where he was given drugs.

“The drugs they gave him there seemed to relieve him. Towards the end of last week, on Saturday precisely, it became very serious,” he recounted.

State Coordinator of WHO, Dr. Thompson Igbo, said: “We have line-listed over 15 persons in Obubra who are ‘primary contacts’ and the hospital where the deceased was first admitted have also been line-listed, as the organisation had been working hard to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We are supporting the state with essential drugs and we are making sure that necessary steps are taken to curb further spread of the disease”.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, said the deceased’s condition got worse and he was referred to the UCTH for further treatment, while his blood sample was taken to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State for diagnosis.

“The incident started about two weeks ago in Obubra and we all know that the incubation period of Lassa fever is three to 21 days.

“The deceased is an indigene of Delta State. The last time he travelled to his home in Lagos State was during the Christmas period in December last year and came back to Cross River in January this year.

“The deceased was living in the corps members’ Lodge in Obubra and since he came back in January, he had not left that community. Unfortunately, we finally lost him yesterday,” she explained.

 

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