Lassa Fever: Five Cases Confirmed in Ondo


James Sowole in Akure

Five cases of Lassa Fever have been confirmed in two local governments of Owo and Akoko South West areas of Ondo State.

While three cases were reported at Owo Local Government, two cases were reported in Akoko South -West.
Of the three cases in Owo, one was recorded at the Achievers University involving a female student.

The Achievers University case made the university to close the institution while students were asked to embark on three weeks semester break.

Addressing journalists on the issue, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tunji Ibiyemi, said the institution recorded just one isolated case of lassa fever in a female student who must have contracted it from her off campus residence.
While noting that the lady has been given the best of medical treatment at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owo and would soon be discharged, Ibiyemi said the school has declared a three week break.

The vice-chancellor said students upon return, should present a certificate of medical fitness from a recognised government institution.

Speaking on the matter, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Ondo State, Dr. Taiye Oni said the latest lassa fever occurrence was coming at unusual time and place that had never recorded any case before, Oni said government has however reactivated its disease notification and surveillance mechanism.
Giving the breakdown of the cases, Oni said it involved a 56 year old male, a 47-year-old female and another two in Akoko South- West.

“This is not the usual time it occurs in Ondo State. It usually occurs during dry season and limited to Owo and Ose.
“Government is doing its best to contain the recorded cases by isolating the patients to prevent further spread, embark on aggressive contact tracing, sensitisation of the people not just in Owo and Ose but across the state on preventing and precautionary measures.

Most times, we have always run to Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo state but the facility is already overwhelmed with so many cases across the country which is why we are collaborating with the FMC Owo in handling the recorded cases.
“We are supporting FMC Owo with protective kits, riverbirin injections and tablets and just as we appeal to people with cases of recurring fever to visit the nearest government hospital for necessary attention”, he said.
Meanwhile, a parent, Mr. Rotimi Obamuwagun, whose son attends Achievers University, bemoaned lack of testing and treatment facility for the disease in the entire three states of Ondo, Ekiti and Osun.

Obamuwagun, who took his son on arrival in Akure, Ondo State capital directly to the State Specialist Hospital for test and advice condemned the alleged non-availability of facility to deal with the disease in the state and even in neighbouring states.

“I was surprised that after waiting for almost one hour I was only told that it is only at the facility built by World Health Organisation at Irrua, Edo State that testing and treatment could be procured.
“This is a big challenge for the Federal Ministry of Health and states Ministry of Health to act because of the epidemic nature of the disease”, he said.