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Two doctors, 14 others die of Lassa fever in Bauchi

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Bauchi State Surveillance Support has disclosed that Lassa fever has killed two medical doctors and 14 other people in the state.

Surveillance officer, Dr. Suleiman Lawal, told journalists yesterday at the Lassa Fever Camp, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), that 43 cases had been confirmed in the state since January 2020.

Lawal said two of the cases were brought in from Plateau State, adding that among the confirmed cases, 16 were recorded.

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He noted: “There are also three people that have died of probable cases. They are called ‘probable cases’ because we couldn’t take their samples before they died.

“Totally, we have seven health workers that were affected. We managed and discharged one of the doctors that were pregnant. Four others are currently on admission, and we’ve been managing them. They are now stable. In fact, we will discharge two of them today (Wednesday) because they have finished their 10-day treatment period.

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“Two doctors died, one died here (ATBUTH) while the other died in a private clinic here in Bauchi.”

Since most of the deaths were as a result of late reporting, he advised people to report suspected cases on time.

The state, he disclosed, has received assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in its efforts at reducing the scourge to the barest minimum, even as he appealed public-spirited individuals to support in the fight against the disease.

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The surveillance officer said the seven pillars that help in managing the epidemic are: education, communication, risk communication, surveillance, case management, laboratory confirmation and prevention, and control.

He noted communication as key in managing the epidemic.

“If people get the correct information, they will know how to protect themselves and this will help in breaking this chain and reducing the spread. Sometimes people feel it has a spiritual undertone, but if you give them the correct information, they will know exactly what it is. So communication is key in controlling outbreak responses.

“When you have one case and you allow it, it will spread; but once you are able to contain it, then you limit the spread and it will die naturally,” Lawal said.

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