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Three health workers die in suspected outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever in Kaduna

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The Accident and Emergency, A&E, Department of 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, has lost three members of staff and a patient suspected to have died from acute Viral Hemorrhagic Fever, VHF.

A statement from Brig Gen. Aso Okoigi, said, “This followed the management of a patient with febrile illness thought to have been the index patient with the disease 10 days ago. The patient also died from the suspected disease condition.”

According to the statement, the common symptoms in those affected include fever, and nonspecific symptoms likened to malaria, saying that the illness is complicated by abnormal liver function, acute kidney failure, encephalopathy, microangiopathy, elevated D-Dimer, among others.

“The Accident and Emergency has been closed for thorough disinfection process and samples have been taken from suspected contacts and the deceased and sent to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, laboratory in Kano for analysis,” the statement explained.

Similarly, the statement stated that Kaduna State epidemiologists have
been invited to help in unraveling the aetiology of the febrile illness with a view
to curtailing the spread of the disease.

The statement added that in addition to strict disease Infection Prevention and Control, IPC, measures that have been directed, Ribavirin injection (an antiviral agent) has also been commenced on other suspected cases and those identified on contact tracing.

It said the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital has also been directed to suspend accepting new cases from the general public in the interim while the situation is being contained.

It further stated that the significant risk of contracting VHF among healthcare workers underscores the need to strengthen IPC practices across all Nigerian Army health facilities.

According to the statement, prevention remains the best approach in dealing with such outbreak since treatment options are limited against a background of high mortality often recorded as in the current case at 44 NARHK, stressing that it can be achieved by raising the level of hospital preparedness for VHF outbreaks through capacity building and ensuring the use of universal precautions when dealing with all patients.

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