Coronavirus: Fear grips health workers as two Nigerian doctors test positive

There has been panic among medical workers at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, after two doctors tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, Sunday PUNCH can report. It was gathered that the two affected doctors worked at the facility's Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology departments. 

A senior medical officer at the hospital, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said the two doctors were currently in isolation in their different homes. The source said the doctors became infected after attending to two patients without protective gear and unknown to them that the patients were carriers of the virus. ISTH is a World Health Organisation-recognised centre for Lassa fever research and treatment in Africa. According to the source, the doctors began to exhibit the commonly known symptoms of COVlD-19 after attending to the patients. The tests ran on them however came out positive. 

Tested Negative To Coronavirus This came as the number of cases in the country rose to 214 on Saturday with five new cases recorded in Bauchi and the Federal Capital Territory. Bauchi had three while the FCT had two. The number of deaths has risen to four while 25 persons have so far been discharged in Edo and Ekiti states. Overall, Lagos State, with the highest in the country, has 109 cases; Osun (20 cases); Oyo (nine); Akwa Ibom (five); Ogun (four); Edo (seven); Kaduna (four); Bauchi (six); Enugu (two); Ekiti (two); Rivers (one); Benue (one) and Ondo (one), which was confirmed on Friday evening, and the Federal Capital Territory with 43 cases. As of Saturday night, however, the number of cases across the world had risen to 1,196,049 cases, out of which 246,110 had recovered and 64,542 had died.

 Meanwhile, the source said, "The tests were well done. lrrua, as you know, has been at the forefront of combating Lassa fever and is equipped. Sadly, the tests were positive. The victims are resident doctors in their mid-thirties. One of the doctors met with one of the patients 10 days after returning from Lagos where he went to put finishing touches to overseas travel plans.

 We don't have personal protective equipment; no enough face masks, hand sanitisers and hand gloves. The doctors were doing their normal work. The centre where the two doctors worked was involved in the treatment of coronavirus at lrrua. The two patients infected two doctors in two separate departments in the facility. "What is clear now to everybody is that the two affected doctors didn't know that the patients they were talking to and examining were carrying the virus. Most people with the virus were usually asymptomatic at the beginning. There was no prior knowledge of the medical condition of the two patients. "These two unknown patients must have mixed with others maybe while awaiting consultation and all that. 


The required social distancing was not enforced. The two doctors went home and probably met with their family members and other patients in their private practice. You see the pattern of spread. It took a while before the situation came to the limelight. 

"We usually leave this kind of crisis in the hands of physicians because they are the ones who manage internal medicine and immune status of patients. If it's mostly respiratory system disease, that is also within their purview.

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