Monday 11 January 2016

Lassa Fever: Outbreak claims first casualty in Edo; ...spreads to Imo

Lassa Fever
The Lassa fever which is ravaging 10 states of the country has claimed its first casualty in Edo State.

The Commissioner for Health in Edo, Dr. Eregie Aihanuwa, who confirmed this during a press conference on Monday, also noted that five persons were hospitalised after showing the symptoms of the deadly disease.

She explained that three out of the six infected persons were treated and discharged, adding that the deceased victim did not report her sickness early enough.

Aihanuwa noted that the state government had recorded some cases of the viral disease in some local government areas.
She said, “Among the six cases, one is from Plateau State while the remaining five cases are from Edo.
“Among the five cases from Edo, four are from the Estako West Local Government Area of the state while the last case is from the Uhumwonde LGA in the state.”
She, however, said that the state government had begun sensitisation programmes as well as other measures to stop the spread of the epidemic especially in rural communities.

She also said that health workers in the state had been told to look out for symptoms of Lassa fever and refer any suspected case to the appropriate hospital.
“All cases of Lassa fever are treated in isolation wards in specialised centres such as the Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control at the Irrua Specialist Hospital.
“We are putting measures in place to stop the further spread of this current outbreak,” she added
Meanwhile, the disease has reportedly spread to Imo State with four persons said to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.

A doctor at the FMC Owerri, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that four people were being treated.

He, however, warned the people living in Imo state to avoid hugging or shaking hands with people while exchanging pleasantries.

According to him, the virus that causes the fever may be incubating in a person’s body without the person being aware of it.

He pointed out that rats were the major vectors of the disease, pointing out that it could also be transmitted from person to person.

According to him, the disease has similar symptoms with those of malaria, typhoid fever and other common diseases in the country.

When contacted on the issue, the Imo State Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Hyacinth Emele, said they had suspicions that a mother and her baby brought to the FMC Owerri, on Friday, may have contracted the disease.

Emele said their blood samples had been taken to Edo State for testing. He said if their blood samples tested positive for Lassa fever, the authorities would be informed.

Credit: Punch

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