By Asmau Ahmad with Agency Report
Dr Kenneth Iregbu, a consultant clinical microbiologist in the National Hospital Abuja, has said that timely diagnosis and management of sepsis remained key to reducing deaths caused by the disease. Iregbu disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday. He said sepsis, which is caused by human body’s reaction to injury as a result of an infection, though not prevalent in Nigeria, accounted for 1,400 deaths per day worldwide. He said early detection and proper management could reduce a patient’s chances of survival by seven to eight per cent.
“I talked about the essence of time in the management of sepsis disease because it is a very serious disease entity that progresses very rapidly if unchallenged to the point of death.
“ Therefore, it is important that if a patient is diagnosed of having it, everything possible need to be done on time with the necessary steps required.
“This is because in the severe case of the disease every one hour delay in instituting the right antibiotic therapy the chance of survival reduces about seven to eight per cent, so we need to act very fast.’’
Iregbu allayed the fears of Nigerians but urged them to be wary of the symptoms as well as causes of the disease, noting that there were no distinct sign that could be attributed to sepsis.
According to him, the symptoms depended on the stage at which the patient was being seen by a medical expert and other underlying factors.
“Fever, difficulty in breathing, cough and so on, depending on what led to the sepsis because it is an infective process which could result from an existing infection in the body.
“It could come from Pneumonia, it could come from Urinary Tract Infection, meningitis, so it does not manifest in a particular form.
“It is however left for the physician to come to a conclusion as to whether it is sepsis or not.’’
He said there was no cause for alarm as the mortality is put at between 30 to 70 per cent in Nigeria, but stressed that the stage at which patients sought for medical help still determined the survival rate. Iregbu said the facilities necessary for the management as well as diagnosis of sepsis could also determine the mortality rate in any location.
“That is why I have advocated that management of sepsis should be done in the ICU, this is important to enable the expert monitor the internal workings of the patient’s body mechanisms.’’
He said constant training of health personnel was required to enable care givers to reduce the prevalence rate in any society.
In another interview with NAN, the Chairman, Board of the National Hospital, Mr Okam Tony, said the hospital had the capacity for the diagnosis and management of sepsis. He said the hospital had the manpower and facilities to handle cases reported to it at any time of the day.
Okam, however, appealed for improved funding from the Federal Government to enable the hospital conduct researches that would enable it advance its treatment of sepsis.
“We are calling on government to encourage research in our institutions because some of these diseases are prevalent but we may not know because there has not been any inquiry in that direction.
“There are also differences in the antibiotics that could be used in the management of Sepsis and it is difficult to differentiate these issues if research is not encouraged.’’
Medical research showed that sepsis resulting from any kind of infection was treatable if dictated early enough and the right antibiotics administered.