41 die of Lassa Fever In 19 states, says Minister


41 die of Lassa Fever In 19 states, says Minister 1

Forty-one people have died from Lassa fever, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said on Tuesday.


He said 258 cases have been confirmed so far from 19 states.


Dr. Ehanire said though the disease is endemic due to Nigeria’s ecological profile, it is everyone’s responsibility to help curb its spread.


At a briefing in Abuja, Ehanire told reporters: “Lassa fever is a disease that is indigenous to our country because it occurs every year, particularly in the dry season.


Ehanire said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate responses to the outbreak


On coronavirus, Ehanire said his ministry was working with relevant ministries and agencies to strengthen surveillance and response to public health emergencies at points of entry.


The minister explained that the risk factor for coronavirus depends largely on air travel volume.


NCDC Director of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge, Dr Joshua Obasanya, said two health workers died from Lassa fever out of the six affected.

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Also yesterday, Taraba’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Innocent Vakkai, told reporters in Jalingo that 15 suspected cases were tested and six tested positive, out of which four died.


Acting Head, Clinical Services of the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, Dr Ahmed Jatau, added: “A medical doctor tested positive”.


He explained that the doctor, a house officer, was undergoing treatment at the Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.


Seven suspected cases of Lassa fever were recorded in Gombe State, according to the Commissioner for Health, Dr Ahmed Gana.


He said two were confirmed and one died; the other one was treated and discharged.


Gana said among the remaining five suspected cases, one later died while waiting for laboratory confirmation.


The management of the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital dispelled rumours that a youth corps member serving in Asaba and two pregnant women admitted for Lassa fever died.

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It said the two pregnant women were brought in from Ondo and Ogun states and both delivered their babies safely.


The hospital is a centre for diagnosing and treatment of Lassa fever.


The Medical Director of the hospital, Prof Sylvanus Okogbenin, told reporters that the corps members had received dialysis and was recovering.


Okogbenin said the doctor from Jalingo was responding to treatment, even as 27 others were treated and discharged.


According to him, 61 patients were on admission in the hospital for Lassa fever, adding that three deaths were recorded since the outbreak.


The Adamawa State Government confirmed the death of one person from Lassa fever.


The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Prof Abdullahi Isa, said the deceased was a 29-year-old pregnant woman who suffered a stillbirth.

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He added that three other suspected cases from Yola North, Yola South and Girei LGAs had since been discharged.


The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Bello, said there was no case of Lassa Fever in Abuja.


He urged medical experts to be prepared to forestall any outbreak, be it Lassa fever or the Coronavirus.


The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has begun activities to intensify efforts to promote a handwashing culture to halt the spread of Lassa fever.


The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, urged residents to maintain proper personal hygiene to prevent Lassa fever.


The Emir, in a broadcast on Monday evening at his palace, directed residents to notify health professionals of any symptoms noticed in their community.


He cautioned them against self-medication or using herbs.


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