The Lagos State Government says it has placed the 63 people who had direct contact with the index Lassa fever case under surveillance.
The State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, made this known while giving an update on the Lassa fever case recorded in the state at a media briefing in Lagos on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the state government had early on Wednesday confirmed a case of Lassa fever outbreak in the state.
It said the Ministry of Health, through its Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate was conducting a “contact tracing” to determine those who might have been infected in line with international standards.
Abayomi said the confirmed index case being isolated at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, had contact with 63 people since his arrival in Lagos from Ebonyi State.
According to him, he had contact with people at the Nigerian Law School in Lagos, Nigerian Air Force Clinic and LUTH.
He said: “They are all being monitored.
“If they develop any symptom of Lassa fever, we will pick them up early and isolate them so that we can break the circle of transmission.”
The commissioner, explaining how the index case was identified, said the man who came from Ebonyi State for a programme at the Law School, had been unwell.
According to him, he was treated at the Law School Clinic for malaria, but he did not recover.
He said: “He was then referred to the Nigeria Air Force Clinic, Onikan, where he was further managed and was referred to LUTH when there was no improvement.”
Abayomi said he was suspected to have Lassa fever based on his point of origin and his non-response to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid.
“The test was confirmed as positive on February 17, and he was immediately transferred to the Isolation Containment Facility in LUTH,” he said.
Abayomi noted that Lassa fever had spread to 26 states, with 472 cases and 72 deaths recorded thus far.
He assured Lagos residents that there was no cause for alarm.
Abayomi expressed optimism that the state’s proactive approach would halt the spread from person to person.