All hands must be on deck  — Dr. Osagie Ehanire

Lassa fever claims 41 lives, 258 cases confirmed in 19 States

By Luminous Jannamike, Peter Duru,

Omeiza Ajayi, Femi Bolaji, Ozioruva Aliu

& Umar Yusuf

The Federal Government says it is committed to containing Lassa fever which has claimed 41 lives in parts of the country since the beginning of 2020.

The Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who spoke in Abuja, revealed that at least two health professionals were among the 41 deaths recorded; adding that there were at least 258 confirmed cases recorded across 19 States in the country.

Ehanire, who said all hands must be on deck to contain the spread of the disease, urged Nigerians in various parts of the country to practice good hygiene and protect their foods from rat contamination.

On the outbreak of Coronavirus in China and other countries, Ehanire said the Federal Ministry of Health had issued advisories to relevant agencies of government and the public on the outbreak of the disease.

“The risk of importation was high even though no single suspected case has been reported in Nigeria,” he said.

He was, however, worried that suspected cases of the deadly virus had been picked in the Ivory Coast and Kenya; noting that it was easily transmitted by humans carriers of the disease.

READ ALSO: Lassa Fever: 3 persons discharged after testing negative in Adamawa

He said as part of efforts against the spread of the disease, the Federal Government has raised surveillance at all entry points into the country.

Ehanire was specific about the preventive measures being taken at the five international airports in Nigeria – in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as well as Lagos, Enugu, Rivers, and the Kano States.

A 40-year-old woman diagnosed in Benue

A 40-YEAR-OLD woman has been diagnosed with Lassa fever at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Makurdi.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the Hospital, Prof. Olusayo Alao said the patient was responding to treatment.

Alao, said the patient was last week brought to the hospital from Okpokwu Local Government Area and admitted after she presented fever.

“She was treated but when she failed to respond to treatment a further diagnosis was carried out. Her blood sample was sent for analysis and the results came in last Sunday confirming she has the virus.

“She is in the isolated ward and is currently on the viral treatment and she is also responding to treatment. So far that is the only case we have recorded.”

Alao assured that the hospital had facilities and manpower to handle the outbreak.

Medical doctor tests positive in Taraba

The Management of Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, has confirmed that a medical doctor who is a house officer has tested positive to Lassa fever.

The Acting Head, Clinical Service of the Hospital, Dr. Ahmed Jatau who disclosed this to Vanguard on Tuesday,  explained that six suspected cases tested positive out of which four deaths were recorded.

“We have sent 10 samples to the NCDC which 6 of those were tested positive to Lassa fever.

“Of the six confirmed cases, four died before their result came in. Of the remaining two, one has been discharged while the other who is our staff has been transferred to Irua Specialist Hospital for further treatment.

“The information from the specialist hospital is that he is doing well after the first dialysis session.

” We have also fumigated the house officers’ quarters against rodents.”

Adamawa confirms outbreak

Adamawa State Government has confirmed the death of a 29-year- old woman from Numan Local Government Area of the State as a result of the recent outbreak of Lassa fever.

The State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Professor Abdullahi Isa disclosed this on Tuesday while addressing the press.

Isa said the index case of a 29-year-old woman was first seen in a private health hospital in Yola before she was referred to the FMC, where she expelled a macerated stillbirth.

He, however, admitted that after the laboratory test the woman was confirmed positive, while the three others tested negative for Lassa fever virus; “they were quarantined and discharged accordingly”.

Sources at the FMC disclosed that those that had direct contact with the patient are being quarantined.

The State Director, Public Health, Dr. Bwalki Dilli admitted that for now, one woman was confirmed dead just as the results of the other cases were still being awaited from the referral laboratory centre in Abuja.

No Lassa fever outbreak in Abuja

Federal Capital Territory FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has said there is no confirmed case of Lassa Fever in the FCT.

He declared this during an emergency meeting of medical experts and senior members of the FCT Administration to ascertain the status of the FCT following Lassa Fever outbreaks in some neighbouring states.

Speaking on the preparedness of the FCT for any possible outbreak of Lassa fever, the Director of Public Health, Dr. Josephine Okechukwu stressed that they were on high alert.

READ ALSO: Lassa Fever: 3 persons discharged after testing negative in Adamawa

ISTH denies death of corps member, pregnant women,

THE management of the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, ISTH, the World Health Organisation designated Lassa fever Centre Tuesday dispelled rumours that a youth corps member serving in Asaba, Delta State and two pregnant women from Ogun and the Ondo States admitted for Lassa fever have died.

It said rather, the women have been delivered of their babies and were responding to treatment.   The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Sylvanus Okogbenin said a medical doctor brought in from Jalingo, Taraba state was also responding to treatment adding that since the current outbreak of the disease early this year,  three deaths have been recorded in the hospital.“

Okogbenin said 91 persons have been admitted since the outbreak out of which 27 have been discharged and currently 61 are still on admission.



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