No fewer than 11 persons have died of Lassa fever in Edo State in the latest outbreak of the hemorrhagic disease.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, who disclosed this at a press briefing to announce a successful stem cell transplant carried out by a private hospital, Celltek Healthcare Medical Centre, in Benin, added that 45 confirmed cases were recorded in the State.
Osifo said that the recorded cases were receiving treatment at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.
“In terms of the State, there are about 45 confirmed cases from Edo State. At the initial stage during the outbreak, a lot of people were not aware and so, awareness was a problem.
“And so, many people who had Lassa fever took it for malaria fever. So, the thing (disease) was spreading rapidly.
“When we heard the call from ISTH that there was an epidemic, I paid an on-the-spot visit to assess the situation of things. I discovered that within a period of one month, 11 patients died of Lassa fever and that was very disturbing to us,” Osifo said.
The Commissioner blamed the casualty figure on inadequate facilities to manage of the high number of patients undergoing treatment in the Hospital.
According to him, “The reason they (patients) were dying was that it [ISTH] used to have two dialysis machines and one of them broke down and it was left with one.
“That one was overworked, so the effectiveness was not as good. So, the Edo State Government purchased two additional dialysis machines that are saving lives now.”
While describing the transplant as a remarkable achievement, Osifo noted that the State would collaborate with private health care centres in line with its commitment to provide quality medical services to the citizens.
Earlier, the Chief Medical Officer of CHMC, Dr. James Omonlumhen, explained that the transplant was carried out by a medical team comprising a stem cell transplant laboratory scientist, pediatrician transplantologist and a hematologist on December 14, 2017.
Omonlumhen stated that the 15-year-old patient, Somtochukwu Ani, who had the sickle cell disease, underwent the procedure using an AS carrier donor.
“And (the) patient has now been certified cured of his sickle cell disease,” he added.