By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT—A mother and her two- week-old baby have been confirmed dead following a recent outbreak of Lassa fever in Rivers State.
Vanguard gathered that the woman lost her life December 30, 2015 after successfully giving birth through caesarean while the baby later died January 1, having contracted the deadly Viral Hemorrhagic Disease from her late mother.
Confirming the deaths, the Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, said when the symptoms of Lassa Fever were noticed in the dead woman that experts in the Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt were consulted and samples from her were also sent to a Specialist Centre in Lagos where it was confirmed that it was the dreaded ailment.
Odegma disclosed that contact tracing of the people who are infected with the disease has begun, adding that the state government has geared up efforts to stop the spread and further death.
Odegma said: “The public is hereby assured that the government is on top of the matter and is doing everything to address the situation as the state government, World Health Organization and other partners and stakeholders are working tirelessly to address the outbreak adequately.
“The public is encouraged not to panic but report to the nearest hospital or Health Centre if they experience symptoms such as persistent high fever, stooling, vomiting and bleeding from the nose, mouth and anus.
He warned: “Lassa fever is highly contagious and easily transmitted by rodents and direct contact with infected blood, urine or faeces, so people are advised to improve on the sanitation of their environment to prevent contact with the rat.”