Lassa fever kills two in Ogun, nurses flee

Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
Activities at the Federal Medical Centre,  Idi-Aba,  Abeokuta, Ogun State, were paralysed on Tuesday  as medical personnel and patients deserted the hospital due to fear of Lassa fever which claimed two lives in the hospital.
The victims were an assistant nursing officer, Abolanle Adesuyi, and a serving corps member, whose identity could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
The resurgence of the viral disease came barely four months after the state government declared the state Lassa fever free.
The late corps member was said to be a patient who had been down with the viral disease and had been admitted into the FMC, Abeokuta.
Adesuyi was said to have attended to the corps member, from who she contacted the virus.
Apparently startled by the death of the two victims, the hospital management commissioned a test at the University College Hospital, Ibadan to determine the cause.
The result, which came in on Tuesday, confirmed that Lassa fever  was responsible for their deaths on Friday and Sunday respectively.
Our correspondent further gathered that two others  – a doctor and a nurse – were reportedly being monitored at the intensive care  unit of the FHC, Idi-Aba, over the virus.
As soon the news of the nature of the death of the assistant nursing officer got to the hospital,  many medical personnel in the department deserted the place.
Some patients in the hospital were also said to have pleaded to be discharged for fear of Lassa fever.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Segun Orisajo, confirmed that Adesuyi died of the virus.
He said when the virus broke out in the hospital,  the management placed Adesuyi  and two other members of staff  under surveillance.
Meanwhile,  the state government has confirmed that the deceased persons were victims of  Lassa fever.
The state Commissioner for Health, Babatunde Ipaye, while confirming the incident in a statement in Abeokuta on Tuesday, allayed the fear of the medical workers, particularly nurses, saying  the situation “does not call for unnecessary panic.”
He said the state Ministry of Health in collaboration with the FMC would quickly set up an isolation centre at the hospital to attend  to emergencies of such.
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