Mr. Elton Mbofana, the coordinator of the Ebonyi State project Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), confirmed this.
He stated that the international humanitarian organization team treated and discharged 58 Lassa fever patients at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA).
58 Lassa Fever Patients Treated in Ebonyi By MSF
Speaking to reporters in the capital of Ebonyi State, Abakaliki, Mbafona stated that 38% of all deaths occurred due to late presentation and urged a coordinated effort to combat the disease.
The MSF representative urged the state's Ministry of Health to step up its nationwide campaign against eating rats, especially the multimammate rat species that carry the virus.
He claimed that those in the medical field were most at risk of contracting the illness. He added that because most of them lacked personal protective equipment, and inadequate infection prevention and control procedures, they were at risk of contracting the disease when caring for a patient.
He claimed that in response to Lassa fever, the humanitarian organization began its medical activities in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, in March 2018. These activities centered on lowering transmission to healthcare professionals and improving case management to reduce disease mortality.
Mbafona stated that in the Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, the MFS teams are closely collaborating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Ebonyi State Ministry of Health to test and treat patients who are suffering from the illness.
He added that the organization provided the patients with mental health support and carried out activities to increase community awareness and ensure protective measures for caregivers, hospital staff, patients, and visitors.
The MSF project medical referent, Dr. Slaymen Ammar, lamented that there hadn't been any vaccines to prevent Lassa fever.
He also says that diagnosing the disease was complex and unaffordable for many.
He said Ribavirin, the primary drug used in treating Lassa fever, is also expensive, putting treatment out of reach for most people.
He also said the cost of treating Lassa Fever needs to be subsidized to ensure everyone has early access to care. He urged the Nigerian health authorities to improve funding so that Lassa fever treatment is free of charge.
He said patients need to be given Ribavirin within six days of being infected, adding that it had not been proven effective in randomized controlled trials.
He said people that suffer from the Lassa Fever stigma. Between 2005 and 2010, the Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki lost not less than 10 of its staff to Lassa fever disease while attending to patients.