COVID19: Pandemonium as two doctors test positive at the ISTH

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It no longer business as usual at the Irrua Specialist Hospital, Irrua, Edo State after two doctors tested positive for coronavirus.

The news sent shock waves among health workers at the facility.

According to Sunday PUNCH, the two affected doctors worked at the facility’s Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology departments and are in  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.

The source said 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.

 “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.

“It’s only when complications occur and we are not talking about intensive care unit, incubating and putting patients on ventilators that you require the input of an episiologist and intensivist. And at that point, it becomes a multidisciplinary kind of treatment.”

ISTH is a World Health Organisation-recognised centre for Lassa fever research and treatment in Africa.