Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Seven new cases of Lassa fever have been reported in three states namely: Edo, Ondo, and Bauchi, with four, two and one cases respectively in the weekly report collated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja by Mrs. Elsie Ilori, a staff of the centre during the Lassa fever advocacy meeting under the topic: ‘What is the situation out there on Lassa Fever?’
She said there have so far been 44 confirmed cases since December last year in nine states which include Ogun, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Edo, Nasarawa, Rivers, Ebonyi and Ondo, with some of the cases reported as probable.
While calling on proper sensitisation at all levels based on the evidence that the fever is seasonal and could be endemic, with the rational that it would occur but should not be the cause of death, Ilori stated that states, as well as local governments are expected to get their own supplies of drugs as the federal government has given them seed supplies already.
“The first case last year was reported on December 19 and so far, there have been reported cases in nine states and the states are: Ogun, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Edo, Nasarawa, Rivers, Ebonyi and Ondo. In some of these states, Lassa fever is endemic. We have had 44 confirmed cases since December last year and seven of them were laboratory-confirmed while seven were probable. Probable cases are cases that we were not able to collect the laboratory samples and those cases died.
“The case fatality rate is high because people are not sensitised enough. We have 54.5 per cent fertility rate. So far, we have reported seven laboratory confirmed cases and they are Edo which reported four, Ondo which reported two and Bauchi which had one,” she stated.
In his speech, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the centre, said to nip the scourge of Lassa fever in the bud, healthcare workers must always apply universal precautions by insisting that medical personnel and patients alike must do test before the treatment of malaria as Lassa Fever has very similar symptoms with malaria.
While also encouraging patients not to self medicate, the NCDC helmsman said it’s proper that heaps of refuse are properly collected and disposed, hence ending the challenge of Lassa fever would be impossible.
To achieve this, he said individuals and organisations must be held accountable as rodents, the primary vectors for Lassa fever, will always abound in such environments.