The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, has said that the number of the people who had contact with a victim of Lassa fever in the state has increased from 66 to 106 as of last Friday.
He disclosed this on Sunday in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
The commissioner said additional 40 contacts had been identified between Friday and Sunday and they were being monitored.
He, however, appealed to the residents not to panic over the outbreak of the disease, as measures were being taken to contain its spread.
A 22-year-old male patient was on Thursday placed under medical observation at the State Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta over Lassa fever infection.
Ipaye said all the contacts had been given thermometers to check their temperature, with health and surveillance officers of the state government deployed to monitor them daily for 21 days.
He explained that the contacts were not taken to isolation centres but were being adequately monitored, unlike the case of Ebola.
The commissioner said, “You don’t take Lassa fever contacts to isolation centre, you only monitor their level of temperature. It’s unlike the Ebola disease where you take contacts to isolation centres.
“Initially we had 66 contacts when I briefed you on Friday. Between then and now, we have additional 40 contacts. So, now, we are monitoring 106 contacts.
“You will recall that we have not established the contacts that met him (the patient) during his travel to Lagos. All the 66 contacts are care-providers in all the hospitals that he is being treated. We also had to go to his house to decontaminate it. So, everybody that lives around there are primary contacts, one way or the other; just to play safe.
“We have to monitor their temperature for 21 days. That was what we did for over 1,800 people we followed up the other time. We had to monitor their temperature minimum of twice daily – morning and evening. And the contacts must come up to tell us the reading immediately. We have given all of them thermometers and we have taught them how to measure their temperature.
“So, when we call them they would tell us what the temperature was in the morning and the evening and they would do this for 21 days. If after 21 days there is no fever of any type, then that patient will be delisted from our contacts.”