ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 122-126

An insight into Ribavirin post-exposure prophylaxis for Lassa fever infection prevention amongst health-care workers in a specialist hospital in North-Central Nigeria


1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nigeria
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nigeria
3 Department of Surgery, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nigeria
4 Department of Pharmacy, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nigeria
5 Department of Community Medicine, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere Nwakamma Ononuju
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jomt.jomt_8_20

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Background: Oral ribavirin is used as standard post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in preventing the nosocomial spread of Lassa fever (LF) in outbreaks. This study sought to have an insight into the incidence and case fatality rate of Lassa fever infections, assess the biosocial data and outcome of the healthcare workers who received ribavirin PEP and determine the adverse effects associated with ribavirin PEP therapy at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital Lafia Nasarawa State Nigeria. Methods: This was a prospective study done between January 2017 to December 2018. Data on biosocial, details of exposure to the Lassa virus, the dosage of ribavirin therapy, adverse effects and outcomes were obtained. Results: The incidence of LF infection was 16% of all suspected cases, with a case fatality rate of 57.1%. General body weakness 30 (44.8%) and loss of appetite 25(37.2%) were the common adverse drug effects reported. The majority of the healthcare workers, 66 (98.5%) remained asymptomatic for secondary LF infection after completion of their oral ribavirin PEP, only, 1 (1.5%) became symptomatic for secondary LF infection, and expired on the sixth-day post-needlestick exposure. Conclusion: Lassa fever infection is common in Nasarawa State, and it is associated with a high case fatality rate. Healthcare workers on duty are at risk of being exposed when adherence to infection prevention and control is inadequate. Oral ribavirin PEP therapy was found to have a low adverse effect profile and efficacious in the prevention of symptomatic secondary LF infection.


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