Dr Wale Oke, Chief Medical Director (CMD), Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, says there is no reported case of Lassa fever at the hospital.
Oke made the clarification on Friday in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
The CMD was reacting to the rumour making the rounds that some health workers at the hospital took to their heels when a suspected Lassa fever patient was brought to the hospital..
“I am here to say categorically that nothing like that happened.
“As we speak, there has been no reported case of Lassa fever in Lagos State and there is nobody in our casualty or anybody brought to our casualty ward that we refuse to see.
“And we do not have anybody who has Lassa fever. We have, however, one or two patients who bleed for other reasons.
“A patient had a bleeding from the nose which is called epistaxis; that can be caused by a lot of things, including hypertension.
“The other patient just had suspected meningitis and they are in the hospital, they are being well attended to and they are improving,’’ he said.
The director said that the hospital had put a system in place in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health to check infestation and spread of Lassa fever.
“For Lassa fever, we have to create beds and we are making efforts to do that so that we can have a triage area where cases which are suspected can be kept.
“And finally, cases proven to be positive will now be transferred to the infectious disease unit,’’ Oke said.
He urged the public to practice the universal safety precaution against the disease, including hand washing and reduced contact with an infected person.
“Anybody you suspect that has the illness, you should either report it, or have minimal contact with the person.
“The hospital has even gone further to invite the Ministry of Environment to come and inspect and get rid of as many rats as possible in the hospital,’’ Oke said.
Also, Dr Julius Taiwo, the Head, Medical Emergency Unit of the hospital, said: “We do not run away from patients. This place is a tertiary hospital and we know what to do with all our patients.
“The case of a suspected Lassa fever patient that was brought to the hospital was attended to by our doctors and nurses.
“The patient was reviewed by a consultant physician and was also reviewed by the hospital’s clinical microbiologist.
“And right now, the patient is in the ward; he is stable and is doing well.
“That we just suspected Lassa fever does not mean that all suspected cases are going to be positive.’’
Taiwo said that the hospital was fully prepared to attend to any patient who was brought on emergency.
He said that the emergency unit had provided a quadrangular area outside the unit where patients suspected to have infections would be attended to.
“We have a quadrangular area where we do our sorting out of patients.
“So, those that are suspected to have dangerous infectious diseases like Lassa fever will be placed on a stretcher where such patients will be held.
“All other things that we need to do will be done on the patient right there.
“And if the patient is confirmed to have any dangerous infection that needs to be separated from others, we call our ambulance unit.
“They will come and evacuate the patient to where government has designated for treatment,’’ he said.
A Consultant Physician at the hospital, Dr Tunmise Bamisele, who had attended to the patient when he was brought in, said that the patient was responding well to treatment.
“We have been able to stabilise the patient; he came in on Wednesday with a history of bleeding from the nose which happened when he got to his office.
“When he came, we evaluated him and we found out that the bleeding can be coming from three possibilities.
“These include haemoptysis, as a result of high blood pressure, which we recorded when he came in.
“He can be having haemoptysis, which are infectious agents affecting the lungs.
“And thirdly, it can be as a result of haemorrhagic fever in which Lassa fever is one of that.
“In view of that, we had to quarantine him and evaluate him properly and invited the microbiologist, the state epidemiologist and hospital community head departments to also review the patient,’’ Bamisele said.
The consultant said that prior to the evaluation; he had started treatment in controlling the bleeding, anti-hypertensive and rehydration.
He said that the patient’s blood was taken for possible grouping and cross-matching and the medical team on call duty had reviewed the patient.
Bamisele said: “We all agree that most likely it may not be Lassa fever.
“But, we still have to suspect it and screen him for it as well, while we continue treatment for haemoptysis and hypertension.
“The patient is responding well to treatment though there was an episode of fever over the night, but the bleeding has stopped and we are controlling the blood pressure.
“And we are evaluating possible cause of haemoptysis, while we want to exclude completely, possibility of Lassa fever.’’
The suspected Lassa fever patient, Mr Adetoye Oyewole, who is a private security officer, said that he was responding well to treatment and thanked the medical team for attending to him.
“I am feeling very well, but I only feel a little pain when I cough, but I am glad that I am doing well now,’’ he said. (NAN)