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Lassa Fever claims life of pregnant woman in Enugu

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A 24-year-old pregnant woman died in Enugu last Thursday night following complications from the deadly Lassa fever virus.Her death has brought the number of people that have so far died in the state as a result of the virus to two. The first casualty, a 75-year-old woman, died penultimate Tuesday.

The development came as six other cases have been isolated in the state and were undergoing investigation. One other case involving a 24-year-old female has been referred to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where she is currently receiving medical attention.

Giving update on the menace in the state, the state government said it had done all that was required to curtail and control the spread of the disease.State Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, said that government has designated 20 health facilities in the state to manage emergencies arising from the disease.

He stated that a fumigation exercise was being carried out in all refuse dumps in the state, adding that fliers and jingles were being distributed and played in radio stations in the state to check the rampant spread.

Aroh, who was flanked at the briefing by his counterparts from the Ministry of Education, Prof. Uche Okoro; Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mathew Idu and officials of the Ministry of Health, said government had done more than enough to check the spread of the disease.

Giving further insight on the casualties in the state, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeanyi Agujiobi, said the dead pregnant woman lived in Emene, Enugu and was referred to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) where her case was diagnosed.

He said: “She went to hospital in Emene but was not admitted. She was referred to UNTH. At UNTH, she was isolated because the symptoms included fever that was not responsive to anti-malaria drugs.

“They called us and we placed her on Lassa fever drugs and took samples for investigations and results came out positive. But because she came very late, we lost her. When we lost her, we decontaminated the UNTH and we are planning with the family on how to bury the body immediately.”

Also speaking, the state epidemiologist, Dr Chinyere Ezeudu, assured that measures had been taken to ensure that all those that had contacts with the dead patients were isolated.

She said: “In the first case, we did a total of 185 contacts and second case 39 contacts and for the case that happened last night, we have just four contacts. Again, we have what we call category three patients and they are at high risk of this Lassa fever. In the first case, up to 30 persons had direct contacts with the first case and we have been investigating everything about them. When it happened, we deployed full details of medical facilities and personnel to do all that needed to be done.”

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