Ebonyi: Mother of Lassa Fever Victim Recounts Ordeal

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    File photo: Some students in hospital bed.

    By NWOGHA NDUBUISI ANDY, Abakaliki


    The mother of suspected Lassa fever victim, late Ephraim Ogaranya, a native of Nwankeleke in Igbeagu Autonomous community,Izzi LGA, Ebonyi State, Mrs. Ogaranya Christiana on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, said, she suspected that it was some pieces of smoked fish in the cage which part of it was allegedly eaten by rat that resulted to the death of her son.
    According to the aged mother, she hinted that the ugly incident started when one of her sons developed severe fever and was rushed to the nearby hospital at St. Vincent Hospital, Ndubia. 
    She said, while one of the sons was still in the hospital another case involving the second son who later died surfaced and was rushed to the same hospital but do to complication nature of her late son’s health, was rushed to Virology centre Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki AE-FETHA where he gave up to ghost.

    The bereaved mother said on discovering of the deadly sickness, the entire family was rushed to the Virology centre and was quarantined before discharging them, noting that no member of the family had witness a similar symptoms since their return from the hospital.
    The family who is taking refuge outside their home due to Ukelle Communal Crisis appealed to the State Government to introduce rural immunization to forestall future occurance of the deadly disease.
    On his account, the immediate elder brother to the decease, Mr.Victor Ogaranya, frowned on the untimely death of his brother, describing the incident as a painful one.
    Mr.Ogaranya said while the family is still battling with their experience as refugees due to the recent inter state boundary crisis between Ebonyi and Cross River State lost their brother to cold hand of death and called Federal and State Government to engage in proper sensitization and immunization within the neighborhood villages to forestall further breakout of the disease in the area.
    Lending his voice,Mr. Mgbabor Awuru blamed Government on the cause of the boys death, stating that if there was well equipped medical center within the zone that the late Ephraim would have been saved.
    He revealed that after the crisis that erupted in the community with Ukelle of Cross River State that Ebonyi State Government treat them with reckless abandon and urged the state Governor to hasten action in ensuring that the boundary delienation case is settled to enable them relocate to their various homes as their condition has cost many unannounced lives.
    Speaking with Public Relation Officer of St. Vincent hospital Ndubia, Dr.Boniface Ikor, he stated that it was on 17th December that they received one Uchechi Ogaranya, and was admitted to the hospital on severe malaria but after few days of no improvement coupled with signs common with viral haemorrhagic fever patient transfered him to Virology centre Abakaliki.
    The Medical practitioner said that while they were handling the first patient that another of the sibling Mr.Ephraim Ogaranya (15 years) old boy was also brought to the hospital with similar case but he died later at the virology centre while his other brother Uchechi was rescuperated.
    Also, Dr. Oge Peter, told our reporter that they received the patient with case of fever parasite disease and admitted him on Children ward but while after few days of no positive response discovered that the patient suffers hyperemic conjotival which is common with Lassa fever.
    He pointed out that on discovering the signs even with proper treatment, the child vomited blood which placed them on serious alert and, then, the parents informed the personnel of blood dropping from his nose, quickly, they referred them to the Virology centre,Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki AE-FETHA, when one later died.
    He maintained that all the medical personnel who attended to both patients were tested but were all declared negative except the parents who they learnt were quarantined, stressing that the disease is caused by maotomy’s natalensin (Multimamate rat) when it contaminate food items with either urine or it’s feaces.
    The medical practitioner blamed the cause of the outbreak on poor handling of food items by rural dwellers and advised them to protect their food and ensure they prevent rats from gaining access Into their residents.
    “The disease is not a frequent case just that the problem we have is that it can present itself like severe fever and you may start suspecting and treating other things like malaria and typhoid before it appears as viral haemorrhagic fever when you might have tried treating it with no improvement.
    We now refer any case like that on time because if it is discovered on time with the virology centre in the state the case will quickly be handled”.
    “It was in Edo state that we use to hear of it until recently, probably may be because of the way we handle what we eat, then, a rat we call Multimamate rat which is a type with Multiple breasts especially this period that people now burn bushes will relocate to the homes of these rural dwellers and go to settle in people residence, and by chance they will contaminate their food due to not properly covering the food items because it is only through the rat excreta and having direct contact with affected patient that one can contract the disease”.
    He added,” While Government help in carrying out more sensitization on ways to curtail the deadly disease, the general public especially the rural dwellers should try cover their food since the outbreak is always common during dry season due to bush burning that made rats of these specie to relocate to residence areas”.

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