...we have the only record of the Medical Doctor – Health Commissioner
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
A Medical Doctor working with the World Health Organization, WHO, office in Makurdi, Dr Samuel Nyityo and two others have reportedly died of Lassa Fever in the state.
However, the Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human Service, Dr Joseph Ngbea who confirmed the outbreak of the disease and the death of the Medical Doctor explained that the state had recorded one death while two others were receiving treatment in Makurdi and at Irrua, Edo state.
Meanwhile, the death of Dr Nyityo and the two others was earlier made known Monday by his colleague, name withheld, who claimed he treated two of the deceased patients and currently isolating and taking medication to prevent the disease.
According to the Doctor, “we lost a colleague, Dr Samuel Nyityo on January 9, 2022. I lost two patients last week, one ate a rat and took ill. I am currently taking prophylaxis(ribavirin) and isolating because I nursed two out of the three people who died,” he said.
When contacted, the Benue state Commissioner for Health and Human Service said “only Dr Nyityo died. Nobody is in a critical position; the other person is in a stable condition.”
The Commissioner said that the state government was doing its best to contain the disease saying before the diagnosis of the disease, Governor Samuel Ortom through the Ministry had released money to ensure that it was contained.
While confirming that the late Dr Nyityo worked for WHO, Dr Ngbea disclosed that Governor Ortom had opted to take over the treatment of the deceased but the global organization released funds for his treatment and the purchase of drugs for the treatment of any victim at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH.
He appealed to the people of the state to take preventive measures against the disease saying “for Lassa fever, the vector is a rat. For the doctor, we discovered that last year, two people had Lassa Fever in his compound. This means that there is a species of rats that moves around in that area and perches on people’s food.
“People should stop the idea of keeping food outside on the ground and people should also be discouraged from eating rats.
“People should keep away anything that would encourage rats to enter their homes. Those are the preventive measures. Apart from that, people should also see the doctor if they have a fever.
“On our part, we will organize a workshop on Lassa Fever in Benue to create more awareness on why we should not keep anything that will encourage rats to come into their homes,” Ngbea said.