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Strange Disease Kills Three Health Workers, Patient At Army Hospital In Kaduna




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A strange disease killed three health workers and a patient within two days at the Nigeria Army Referral Hospital, Kaduna (NARHK).

In an internal correspondence dated 21 February, the Nigerian Army said the three health workers were managing the patient at the hospital for the disease.

The memo signed by the Acting Corp Commander Medical (CCM) of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General SO Okoigi, was addressed to the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Corps, Bonny Cantonment, Victory Island, Lagos.

The Accident and Emergency (A&E) Dept of 44 NARHK has witnessed the loss of 3 members of staff and a patient in the last 48 hours, with some in critical condition.

“They are suspected to have died from Acute Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF). This followed the management of a patient with febrile illness thought to have been the index patient with the disease 10 days ago, having presented with a febrile illness,” the memo stated.

The memo said the symptoms of the disease were likened to malaria and resulted in acute kidney failure.

The patient also died from the suspected disease condition. The common symptoms in those affected included fever, and nonspecific symptoms likened to malaria. However, the illness was complicated by
abnormal liver function, acute kidney failure, encephalopathy, microangiopathy, elevated D-Dimer among others”, it stated.

The memo said the Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit of the hospital had been closed down for a thorough disinfection process, and samples had been taken from suspected contacts and the deceased and sent to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratory in Kano for analysis.

It added that Kaduna State epidemiologists have been invited to help unravel the aetiology of the febrile illness to curtail its spread.

The memo said the hospital has also been directed to suspend accepting new cases from the general public in the interim while the situation is being contained.

Nigerian Army Confirms Lassa Fever In Kaduna Hospital

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has confirmed that it is dealing with “acute Viral Hemorrhagic disease” in the Accident and Emergency unit of the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna (NARHK), which has resulted in the death of a couple of its medical staff serving in the hospital.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Major-General Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a release on Thursday.

He added that there was no cause for panic as the army authorities had contacted the relevant agencies for collaboration.

The statement reads, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to public concern and apprehension resulting from a leaked correspondence by its medical experts over a suspected outbreak of what presents as Viral Hemorrhagic disease aka Lassa Fever, in one of its medical facilities in Kaduna State.

“While it is yet unclear what we are actually dealing with, the Nigerian Army wishes to confirm that there was indeed some suspicion of what presented as acute Viral Hemorrhagic disease in the Accident and Emergency unit of the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna (NARHK), which has resulted in the death of a couple of its medical staff serving in the hospital.

“In line with best practice in managing such a situation, contact tracing to what is believed to be the index case has been made to a non-military patient who was referred to 44 NARHK from a peripheral medical facility. The suspected index patient was managed but subsequently died two weeks ago in the hospital. Sadly, three medical staff of the hospital that had direct contact with the suspected index case have also died within the past 48 hours.

“In response to the suspected outbreak, directives have been passed that Prevention Control (IPC)  measures in and around all military health care facilities in Kaduna be stepped up as part of measures to curtail further spread and loss of lives. In this wise, all medical staff of the hospital, their family members and other patients on the contact tracing list have commenced appropriate management and so far nothing of concern has been observed.

“Furthermore, the entire hospital facility has been disinfected, while immediate closure and evacuation of the Accident and Emergency ward of the 44 NARHK has been ordered to allow for thorough fumigation, decontamination and emplacement of other measures of Infection Prevention Control (IPC) .

“As a responsive and responsible organization, the Nigerian Army has also escalated the development to other relevant national and state agencies. As of the time of this statement, samples have been taken from suspected contacts and the deceased and sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratory in Kano for analysis. Similarly, the Kaduna state Epidemiologists have been invited to help in the unfolding development.

“It is imperative to point out, that the Nigerian Army as part of its civil-military relations welfare scheme offers medical services to civilians in its host communities. Thus, about 500 civilians receive medical attention weekly at 44NARHK. This unfortunate development is only a setback in our efforts to give back to society and will not stop the Nigerian Army from continuing this moral obligation to the host communities.

“As of now, all Nigerian Army medical facilities in Kaduna and environs have been put on alert on the need to place necessary IPC measures and closely monitor patients, staff and family members.

“The Nigerian Army urges members of the general public to not panic, as adequate measures have already been put in place to contain the suspected outbreak. It equally assures that its collaboration with all relevant stakeholders is open, transparent and in tandem with international best practice.”

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.