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Lassa fever in a physician and his children: a case report

GI Achinge
AO Malu
BA Ejeh
PT Mbaave
PM Utoo
IA Bako
JT Kur
SK Gyoh


Introduction: We report a confirmed case of Lassa fever in a physician and two of his children with the aim ofreminding healthcare workers on the risk of acquiring and  transmitting Lassa fever. Methods: A 55 year old male physician presented with acute febrile illness with no response to antimalarial and antibiotic drugs necessitating referral to the teaching hospital. On review, he had fever, headache, generalized malaise, cough, abdominal pain and diarrhea and was 0 febrile (T-38.5°C). Patient was treated for septicaemia with ceftriaxone. He developed subconjunctival haemorrhages and bleeding from injection sites that progressed to multiple organ dysfunction (coagulopathy, acute kidney injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome and circulatory collapse). An assessment of acute viral haemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever) was made. Resuscitation was unsuccessful and he died. The Physician had treated a patient with symptoms consistent with Lassa fever who also died. Results: Lassa fever was confirmed by RT-PCR test. Lassa fever was also confirmed in two of the physician's children who were treated successfully with ribavirin. One of the children had sensorineural deafness. Conclusion: The risk of transmitting Lassa fever to other people especially family members is high and the need to practice universal precaution cannot be over emphasised. A high index of suspicion is crucial for the early detection of Lassa fever if mortality and spread to other people is tobe curtailed. 

Key words: Children, Close Contacts, Lassa fever,  Physician.  High Med Res J 2013;13:56-58

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eISSN: 1596-2407