Sunday 10 January 2016

Lassa Fever Outbreak: Federal Govt distributes drugs to Rivers, Oyo and other states

Lassa Fever
Rivers, Oyo and Bauchi state governments have received over 8,000 Ribavirin tablets and injections, an anti-viral medication for Lassa fever to curtail the spread of the disease from the Federal Government.

The Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, through his Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Bazia, who confirmed this, said the state government had begun the distribution of 3,000 units of the drugs to various hospitals in the state.

The commissioner reminded members of the public not to panic, adding that the state government had taken necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Odagme said, “We have received Ribavirin injections and capsules. About 3,000 units have been distributed to hospitals. The drugs are free.”
He, however, dismissed speculations that one more person had died of the disease, adding that apart from the two persons that succumbed to Lassa fever in the state, no other persons had died.

About 60 persons have been placed under surveillance as a result of the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in Rivers State.

Also, the Oyo State government has faulted claims of confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the state.

The Acting Director of Public Health, Oyo State Ministry of Heath, Dr. Taiwo Ladipo, on Sunday noted that the three suspected cases reported and diagnosed at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, had no feature of the disease.

He, however, warned residents not to eat rats and advised them to also avoid contact with the blood, urine and faeces of rats when killing them as a preventive measure against the disease.

Ladipo said, “Two suspected cases of Lassa fever were reported by the UCH, Ibadan in 2015. Both cases, though diagnosed at the institution, were not verified by the Federal Ministry of Health reference laboratory in Lagos. Both cases had remarkable improvement and they were subsequently discharged.
“The last case was reported by the UCH on December 18, 2015 and the ministry embarked on contact tracing of all potential contacts of the index case. Seventy-two individuals from the referring hospital, UCH and the child’s community were observed for three weeks for any feature of the disease.
“At the end of this period, there were no features of the illness in all the contacts. The index case has since been discharged from the UCH.”
Ladipo, however, noted that the ministry had prepared a response protocol team, whose members were drawn from the Red Cross Society, UCH, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State and the State Emergency Management Authority.

With support from the Federal Ministry of Health, he said that the state’s Ministry of Health had supplied Ribavirin as well as protective apparels to UCH to reduce contact between healthcare workers and potential cases.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Health, Dr. Saidu Gital, has said that four new suspected cases of Lassa fever have been recorded in the state in the last 10 days.

Gital, who disclosed this during a briefing in Bauchi on Sunday, said that the new cases were reported between January 1 and 10, 2016.

“In January 2016, we have recorded four suspected cases of Lassa fever, with none confirmed positive. The results of the three cases were negative while the fourth person who incidentally came from Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State is already ill and the result is still being awaited.”
Gital said the suspected cases were from Tafawa-Balewa, Dass, Toro, Alkaleri and Bauchi LGAs.

Credit: Punch

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