The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Nicholas Azinge, in a statement on Monday in Asaba, said that the state recorded one death from Lassa fever after a medical doctor in the state died from the disease.
"On Aug. 18, 2016, one case of Lassa fever was reported in Delta State. The confirmed case was a medical doctor resident in Asaba who hailed from Anambra State.
"He was first admitted in a private Hospital in the state and was later referred to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State.
"The patient’s condition deteriorated and he died after three hours on admission,’’ Azinge said.
The commissioner said that blood sample earlier collected from the victim was confirmed to be positive for Lassa fever after laboratory analysis at the Institute of Lassa Fever, Irrua in Edo State.
He also disclosed that following the incident, the state government took immediate action to forestall the spread of the disease by shutting down the late doctor’s hospital in Umuaji quarters in Asaba.
"Following the discovery, we also ensured that the hospital where he was treated at Bonsaac area was also shut down and fumigated.
"His wife’s blood sample was taken and tested at the Institute of Lassa fever; it, however, came back negative.
"So far, a total of 32 persons have been placed on surveillance; These include 11 persons from the immediate family of the deceased.
"Eighteen persons at the private Hospital where the patient was first admitted and 3 other persons who made contact with the deceased,’’ Azinge said.
The commissioner also disclosed that two local government Disease Surveillance Officers in Oshimili South and Oshimili North were actively involved as part of the state response team.
"The Surveillance Officers have been monitoring the temperature of those under surveillance and this will be done for a period of 21 days.
"The State Lassa Fever Response Team has been reactivated while sensitisation of health workers in the state is ongoing.’’
Azinge said the health workers were being sensitised to the need for preventive measures when managing infectious cases.
According to him, the ministry has also embarked on awareness creation through the mass media, to enlighten the public on the mode of transmission of the disease and the preventive measures, to forestall its spread.
The commissioner also said that prevention materials had been sent the various local governments prone to high-risk disease outbreak in the state.
"Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), non-contact thermometers and other items have been distributed to the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in all of the 25 local governments by the state Ministry of Health.
"The drug, Rivabirin has been procured for immediate case management while the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Medical Association in Delta have been contacted and are collaborating with us,’’ he said.
The commissioner gave assurance that the situation was under control and appealed to the public not to panic.