By Peter Duru, Makurdi
No fewer than 350 children have been reportedly hospitalised in parts of Makurdi Benue State capital, following the outbreak of rotavirus infection (severe diarrhea and vomiting) in the state.
When Sunday Vanguard visited the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Makurdi, it was discovered that most of the bed spaces in the children’s ward were occupied by victims.
The situation was the same in most private hospitals visited in the town and the Benue State University Teaching Hospital which recorded high figure of children and infants who were hospitalised on account of the virus.
One of the parents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity at the FMC, told Sunday Vanguard that she rushed her two-year-old son to the hospital after the baby suddenly developed diarrhea.
“Some day ago, I noticed that my baby suddenly stated stooling uncontrollably and hours later, he also started vomiting. I had no choice but to rush him here only to discover that it was as if all the children in Makurdi were also brought to the hospital for the same purpose,” she said.
“I also saw children of my neigbours and it’s more like an epidemic in the town because it’s a major health condition that most homes with children and infants are facing presently.
“When we came, it was difficult to get bed space at the children’s ward Even at the private hospitals town, most of the bed spaces have been taken over by children who are facing the same health condition. We are lucky to have gotten space here at the FMC. You can see things for yourself.”
The parent, who claimed that she noticed that some kids lost their lives to the disease, pointed out that health personnel were battling to contain the disease.
Speaking on the issue, a medical practitioner in a private hospital at the Wadata area of Markurdi who also spoke anonymously, said the hospital recorded an average of three new cases of the disease daily and urged health officials to move fast to stem the spread of the outbreaki.
When contacted, Commissioner for Health, Dr Cecelia Ojabo, who confirmed the outbreak, stated that the situation got to epidemic level two weeks ago but added that the virus was being contained.
Ojabo said, “From the information i gathered from our personnel, it got to epidemic level two weeks ago, but we are fighting it, though the situation this year is better than what we had within this period last year, and the most affected was the Wadata area of the town.
“As of today, the rate of infection is going down. We all know that this harmathan period is a season of viral infections. So, for everyone to remain safe, we must all keep our environment clean to stem such outbreaks.