Chukwudi Akasike, Simon Utebor, Tony Okafor and Armstrong Bakam, Bola Bamigbola, Daud Olatunji  with agency reports

Not less than 85 fresh cases of Lassa fever have been recorded in Nigeria state

76 people were confirmed positive to the virus in Edo State, five cases in Plateau State and three cases in Bauchi.

The Commissioner for Health in Edo, Dr Patrick Okundia, explained on Friday in Benin that 76 out of 175 suspected cases of Lassa fever tested positive to the epidemic.

Okundia made the disclosure at a Lassa fever committee meeting chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu, and representative of the World Health Organisation.

He said, “A total of 76 suspected cases of Lassa fever were confirmed on Friday in the state and they are currently on admission in the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.

“We have not recorded any new death but have also reduced our case fatality rate to less than 10 per cent.

“The number of cases in the ward now is 34, and we have discharge over 28 patients that have been fully treated and healed.”

In his remarks, Shaibu called on all hospitals across the 18 local government areas of the state to refer any suspected cases to Irrua Specialist Hospital and isolation centres, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

On her part, the state Coordinator of WHO, Mrs Faith Ireye, revealed that contact tracing in the state was the best in the country.

In Plateau, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Ndam, said the state confirmed five cases of the epidemic.

Ndam, who spoke in Jos on Friday, said the patients of the ailment had been admitted in two hospitals in the state, adding that three of them were undergoing treatment; one had completed treatment, while the fifth one had been discharged.

He said Lassa fever was not new in the state because the area had experienced the disease before.

In Bauchi, the Executive Secretary, Primary State Health Care Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, confirmed three new cases of Lassa fever in the state.

Mohammed, however, said that there was no record of any death in the state since the outbreak.

He said the sample of 15 other cases which were suspected to be Lassa fever had been sent to the National Disease Control Centre in Abuja for testing to authenticate them.

“We heard of the news of some deaths in Kano as a result of Lassa fever and there are a lot of speculations going on regarding Bauchi State. This year, we have 15 suspected cases of Lassa fever three out of these have been confirmed while 21 turned out negative.

“What happened was that a lady who lives in Kano came back to Bauchi to see her family and stayed for some days in Bauchi and later travelled to a village in Toro LGA.

 Anambra urges residents to start setting rat traps.

Meanwhile, as part of the measures to prevent Lassa fever, the Anambra State Government has urged residents of the state to embark on massive setting of rat traps.

The state government also said the state had opened dedicated telephone lines for Lassa fever alert in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, said this on Friday at a press conference in Awka, the state capital.

While saying that no case of the virus had been reported in any part of the state, Okpala said there was need to be more vigilant as there had been cases of the disease in two coterminous states.

He added, “To reduce the risk of Lassa fever, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Anambra State Ministry of Health offer the following advice: keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entering, cover your dustbins and dispose refuse properly. Communities should set up dumps very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes

“Store foodstuffs like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize etc in containers which are well covered with tight fitting lids; avoid drying food stuff outside on the floor, roadside where it will be exposed to contamination, among others.”

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government has placed 57 persons under close surveillance.

The Acting Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Health, Dr Chinwe Atata, said on Friday that two suspected cases had been investigated and discarded, while two samples had been collected and sent to the National Reference Laboratories for Virology.

Atata said, ‘’However, the state was notified of a resident of Rivers State, who was diagnosed in Edo State as a case of Lassa fever on the January 22. Incidentally, the patient passed on at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital same day.

‘‘Investigation is ongoing in Edo State. Together with the management of the hospital, the family and National Centre for Disease Control are working assiduously to ensure public health safety in the exposed clusters, especially among health care personnel and the first responders.

‘‘Currently, 57 persons have so far been placed under surveillance. We are working in partnership with state, federal agencies and all stakeholders in the interest of public health security. There is, therefore, no cause for alarm as the situation as recorded is firmly under control.’

In a related development, the Osun State Government has mandated all local governments, local council development areas and administrative offices to immediately begin grassroots sensitisation of the citizenry to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.

Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adebayo Adeleke, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Olasiji Olamiju, made this known during an urgent sensitisation meeting with the council chairmen at the Ministry of Local Government Conference Hall, Abere on Friday.

Also, Lassa fever has reportedly hit Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital

A case was reportedly recorded in Obantoko ,Abeokuta South Local Government Area of the state on Friday.

A source  at the Federal Medical Centre ,Idi-Aba, Abeokuta told one of our correspondents that the victim was taken to the FMC ,Idi-Aba ,Abeokuta  Friday evening .

The source said after series of tests were carried out , it was confirmed that Lassa has crept into  the state again.

The state had recorded the case last year but got rid of it .

The Ogun State government had few days ago said  there is no confirmed case of Lassa Fever in the State.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control  had   listed the state as one of the states with a case of Lassa Fever in the country .

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker in the statement released few days ago added that  government had however put its health officials on red alert in the event of a suspected case.

Attempts to get the commissioner for health’s reaction failed as she could not be reached as of the time of filing this report .

A press officer in the ministry who pleaded for anonymity confirmed the case .

The officer however , begged for  more time to reach out to the top management in the ministry and promised to get back to our correspondent .


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