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Lassa Fever Disease reportedly kills hospital staff in Ondo as colleagues accuse management of negligence

The victim was reportedly infected with the disease in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where she went to visit a relative who had earlier been infected.

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Lassa Fever reportedly kills hospital staff in Ondo play

Photo for illustrative purpose

(Daily Post)

A laboratory attendant in Ondo State has reportedly died from Lassa Fever, months after the disease has largely been contained in the country.

The victim identified as Rasheedat Mohammed, was said to have died on Saturday, May 5, at the Kidney Care Centre, Medical Village, Ondo town.

According to a Punch report, the deceased was infected with the disease in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where she went to visit a relative who had earlier been infected.

The relative is also said to have died.

'We're scared'

Other staff at the care centre reportedly accused the hospital management of not taking any action to protect them despite knowing that there was a case of Lassa Fever in the hospital.

They allegedly reported the case to the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Akinwumi Akinbodewa, whom they said ignored their concerns.

"We don’t know what to do; one of us has been killed by Lassa Fever. We have appealed to the management to conduct medical tests on us, but the CMD did not want us to cry out because of the image of the hospital and the state; but our life is at risk now", one of the workers who pleaded not to be named told Punch on Tuesday, May 8.

"We expected the hospital to have taken our blood samples to Irrua Specialists Hospital to check whether any one of us had been infected. But they have not done anything about it."

An outbreak of Lassa fever has allegedly claimed the life of Mr Henry Ehimati, a male nurse working with Okomu Oil Palm Company staff clinic, located in Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo. play Lassa Fever symptoms (Nigeria Galleria)


Another worker accused Dr. Akinbodewa of playing politics with the situation.

"The CMD is playing politics with our lives; he is aware that the case has resurfaced at the hospital and claimed a life, but he is not doing anything. We don’t know whether another person has been infected now among us. I think the governor must hear this; they want to cover up the matter," he was quoted as saying.

Some of the workers, however, are said to have taken it upon themselves to get tested at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo.

But the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, dismissed the Lassa Fever case claims.

He, however, confirmed the death of the medical worker at the hospital but said she died from complication of liver problem and not Lassa Fever.

He said, "It is not correct; we have not got any new case in Ondo State. It is true that somebody, who was a member of staff of the hospital, died of liver problem that led to some complication. Though her blood sample has been taken to Lagos, but clinical evidence does not support Lassa Fever. We are expecting the result on Wednesday."

The CMD was said to have declined to comment on the allegations of negligence against him.

In March 2018, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said 78 people died of Lassa Fever in Nigeria out of a total of 1121 suspected cases between January 1 and March 4.

The outbreak was, as at the time, active in 18 states namely: Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo, Plateau, Lagos, Taraba, Delta, Osun, Rivers, Abuja, Gombe and Ekiti; with 85% of all confirmed cases from Edo (44%), Ondo (25%), and Ebonyi (16%).

ALSO READ: How to protect yourself against Lassa Fever

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected with the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains.

The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected multimammate rat. Spread can then occur via direct contact between people.

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