Nigerian Doctors Angered As Lassa Fever Spreads


Nigerian doctors may start refusing to attend to patients with Lassa fever if they are not provided with the right equipment to protect themselves.

Dr Mike Ozovehe Ogirima, president of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), told BBC Yoruba that eight doctors had died of the disease since the beginning of the year after contracting it from patients.

He issued the warning as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) issued its latest figures showing that Lassa fever has now spread to 20 states in Nigeria, killing 142 people since January.

Dr Ogirima said the authorities should do more than just “enough” to end the outbreak.

Lassa fever is usually transmitted to humans via food and objects contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

Health Minister Isaac Adewole told the BBC the government was putting in more resources to tackle the outbreak.

He admitted the government was worried with increase in the number of health practitioners contacting the disease.

“It represents a new dimension because for doctors and others it is human-to-human [transmission].

“But we are confident that in the next one or two months everything will fizzle out.”

Most people who catch Lassa will have only mild symptoms such as fever, headache and general weakness.

However, in severe cases, it can mimic another deadly haemorrhagic fever, Ebola, causing bleeding through the nose, mouth and other parts of the body. BBC