By John Mkom, Jalingo
Lassa fever crept into Taraba State on December 25, 2015 while Christians were celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. A victim was taken to the Federal Medical Center, FMC, Jalingo, the state capital with symptoms suspected to be of the fever.
Five cases of the disease were recorded in three days.
Doctors were promptly mobilized by the state government to conduct tests on the victims while some other personnel were deployed to take blood samples from the patients outside the state for proper examination since the laboratory at the FMC was not equipped with facilities to handle the symptoms.
Three of the five suspected victims of Lassa were reported to be from Jalingo local government area while the others were from Ardo-Kola local government area.
The state ministry of health also engaged the services of medical personnel to go round Taraba for sensitization to prevent the outbreak of the disease among locals.
Jingles were sponsored on Taraba Radio Broadcasting Service (TSBS) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Jalingo.
Professionals were engaged at those media stations for sensitization.
The Medical Director of FMC, Jalingo, Dr. Wiza Inusa, while speaking with Sunday Vanguard in his office, said the symptoms observed on some of the victims showed they may have contracted the dreaded virus.
Wiza confirmed that three of the victims had died while the others remained on admission in stable condition.
He said the hospital was ready to deal with the situation.
The MD explained that the FMC was expecting the results from the blood samples taken to the laboratory outside the hospital.
A relation of one of the suspected victims of Lassa fever, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard at Agwan Fulani in Jalingo local government, lamented that the family was already being stigmatised because of his brother who was admitted at the FMC.
The relation, Jafaru Usman, said family friends sympathising with his family over the fate of his brother prefered to call him on phone instead of coming to the family house.
Meanwhile, Taraba State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Innocent Vakai, says the state government had procured drugs to help the FMC, Jalingo contain the disease.
Vakai said international donors also aided the state government with drugs.
He called on the people of the state to keep their surrounding clean to prevent to spread of the disease.