Successful management of Lassa fever disease in a Nigerian with haemoglobin SC disease at the Lassa fever management centre of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Nigeria
Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders resulting from the presence of mutated form of haemoglobin, known as haemoglobin S (HbS). Inheritance of abnormal HbS can occur in homozygous form (HbSS), called sickle cell anaemia or in combination with other haemoglobin variant such as HbSC. There is paucity of study on the management of Lassa fever disease in patients with sickle cell disease. The objective of this study is to report a successfully managed case of Lassa fever disease in an adult with sickle cell disease (HbSC).
Case presentation: We report a 25year old man living with sickle cell disease (HbSC), who presented to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, with complaint of fever, malaise, weakness of 6 days and abdominal pain, passage of watery stool, nausea, vomiting and generalised joint pain 2 days prior to presentation. Following physical examination, a provisional diagnosed of vaso-occlusive crisis with gastroenteritis with background malaria was made. Worsening of symptoms despite treatment with antimalarial, antibiotics and analgesics, led to the suspicion of Lassa fever which was confirmed with polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Patient was then treated with ribavirin, recovered completely with no residual complication and was subsequently discharged.
Conclusion: This case illustrates the importance of having high index of suspicion following persistent fever with non-response to treatment. Death due to Lassa fever disease can be prevented by early presentation to the hospital, high index of suspicion and close monitoring, avoiding delays to commencement of treatment.
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