• 150 others exposed to index case still under surveillance
• Hepatitis B epidemic looms as vaccine shortage persists
The management of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has discharged the three patients admitted for Lassa fever after they tested negative to the virus.
Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LUTH, Prof. Bode Chris, yesterday told The Guardian that some of the 150 persons with the index case who had been under surveillance are certified free and not under danger of developing the disease.
Bode, who stated that some others still under surveillance could only be taken off the danger list after 21 days from the day of contact, however, said only Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, could declare the state Lassa fever-free.
He said: “I can only speak for LUTH. I believe we have taken care of the virus. The three patients under admission, including the resident doctor who attended to the index case, have been discharged.”
In another development, more Nigerians may die or become infected with Hepatitis B as the current global shortage of the vaccines, which has been caused by problems in the manufacturing process, persists.
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Hepatitis B and C constitutes more than 70 per cent of the viral infection in Nigeria and the vaccines are usually available in the free routine immunisation programme of the Federal Government. But with the global shortage, more Nigerians may become infected and die of the disease.
According to the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the major manufacturers, Merck, anticipates that its pediatric Hepatitis B vaccine will be unavailable between early August 2017 and early 2018.
According to CDC: “Merck is not currently distributing its adult Hepatitis B vaccines and does not expect to be distributing it between now and the end of 2018…. Merck’s supply of the dialysis formulation of Hepatitis B vaccine, however, is not affected and is expected to remain available. GSK has sufficient supplies of adult and pediatric Hepatitis B vaccines to address these anticipated gap in Merck’s supply of adult and pediatric Hepatitis B vaccines during these time periods; however, preferences for a specific presentation (that is, vial versus syringe) may not be met consistently during this time.”
The NCDC had, therefore, in a press release advised Nigerians to be more vigilant, maintaining good hygiene, keeping away of food items from rodents, regular washing of hands and not hesitating to report any suspected case to the Centre using the tool free lines: 0800-970000-10 SMS 08099555577, Whatsapp 07087110839. Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov.
It also noted that although there is no known vaccine for the treatment of the disease, it could be managed, treated and better still avoided.