Ogun State government on Sunday disclosed that the number of suspected contacts of the victim of Lassa fever in the state has risen from initial 66 to to 106.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Babatunde Ipaye, who made this known to reporters on phone, however allayed the fears of residents, saying adequate measure have been taken to contain its spread.
A male patient was Thursday placed on observation at the State Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta over Lassa fever infection but in giving an update about the case on Sunday Ipaye said all the contacts have been given thermometers to monitor their temperature.
According to him, the health and surveillance officers of the state government have also been deployed to closely watch them daily for 21 days.
“You don’t take Lassa fever contacts to isolation centre, you only monitor their level of temperature. It’s unlike the Ebola disease where you take contacts to isolation centres.
“Initially we had 66 contacts when I briefed you (on Friday). Between then and now, we have additional 40 contacts. So, now, we are monitoring 106 contacts.
“You will recall that we have not established the contacts that met him (the patient) during his travel to the hospital. All the 66 were care-providers in all the hospitals that he’s been treated. We also had to go to his house to decontaminate it. So, everybody that lives around there are primary contacts one way or the other; just to play safe.
“We have to monitor their temperature for 21 days. That was what we did for over 1,800 people we followed the other time. We had to monitor their temperature minimum of twice daily – morning and evening. And the contacts must come up to tell us the reading immediately. We have given all of them thermometers and we have taught them how to measure temperature.
“So, when we call them they would tell us what the temperature was in the morning and the evening and they would do this for 21 days. If after 21 days there is no fever of any type, then that patient is discharged away from our contacts.
“But if there is fever, we would take him and put him in an isolation place and do the test quickly. So, if the test is negative we discharge him. If the test is positive, then we start treating the person. But we don’t have any problem for now,” Ipaye said.