By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to make available funds to the Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant agencies with immediate effect for them to tackle the outbreak of Lassa fever that has claimed many lives.
This was part of the resolution in a motion sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Chike John Okafor, entitled, ‘Urgent need to stop the embarrassing outbreak of Lassa fever virus in Nigeria and the need to step up the fight against further spread and loss of lives.”
Okafor, in the lead debate, noted that the deadly disease which has so far infected over 93 Nigerians has spread to Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Gombe and Oyo states.
Stressing the need to take deliberate actions toward containing the disease which currently has no cure for the virus, Okafor observed that “this is the first time Lassa fever virus is occurring in Nigeria which has continued to wreak havoc in the lives of helpless Nigerians who fall victims of this disease.
“The House is worried that since the outbreak of this killer virus, with the rate at which it has spread into 10 states in the country, citizens of the country have continued to live in fear.
“We are aware of the measures and interventions of the Federal Ministry of Health to contain this outbreak and the need for all Nigerians, stakeholders and relevant agencies to get involved in creating awareness in the fight to stamp out this killer virus in Nigeria.
“The House is concerned that about 80 per cent of people who become infected with Lassa fever virus have no early visible symptoms as the incubation period of the virus ranges from 6-21 days and symptoms at this stage include: high fever, vomiting, backpain and bleeding. Death usually occurs within 14 days of obvious signs in fatal cases.”