Lassa Fever: Bauchi Records 15 Cases, Ekiti Calls for Caution

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Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Bauchi State Government yesterday disclosed that no fewer than 15 new cases of Lassa fever, an animal-borne acute viral disease, had been discovered in the state, noting that three of the new cases had been confirmed positive.

In its own case, the Ekiti State Government called on residents to always ensure a clean and hygienic environment to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever, urging them not to dry food items on the roadsides where rats could have access to them.

Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr Rilwan Muhammed gave the update yesterday, noting that 15 suspected cases were recorded and three were confirmed positive.

Muhammed disclosed that three confirmed cases “are presently receiving treatment at the infectious diseases isolation centre of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH).”

He added that the samples of 12 patients had equally been sent to the laboratory for investigation.

Muhammed said the recent outbreak affected Toro, Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi, Bogoro and Dass Local Government Areas (LGAs), saying the agency had spent a lot of resources on surveillance “to investigate the disease. Toro LGA is the most prevalent area in the state.”

Muhammed said the agency had already worked out plans “to prevent mortality rate of the disease through preventive dialysis. We have sent a memo to the state governor for a dialysis machine to be used on the patients because all the confirmed cases have renal failure.

“We also booked 10 units of blood at the specialist hospital Bauchi for an emergency cases,” the executive secretary said.

He disclosed that the federal government had already donated drugs and protective equipment to the state.

Aside, the executive secretary disclosed that the federal government donated drugs and drugs and personal protective equipment (PPE) used by medical personnel for the treatment of suspected and confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the state,”

He also disclosed that Doctors are currently afraid of contacts with patients with all forms of fever in the state, a situation that prompted stakeholders meeting to tackle the issues through the universal safety practice (PPE).

He called on parents and guardians across the state to prevail on their children against hunting and selling rat meat in order to complement the effort of the state government address the health challenge.

Also in Ekiti State, the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi admonished residents to always clear the bush in their surroundings and also cautioned against sun-drying food items on the roadsides where rats could have access to them.

The deputy governor promised that government would do everything possible to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state, already ravaging some neighbouring states.

Egbeyemi frowned at some market women and commercial motorcyclists for not observing the sanitation exercise, noting that a clean environment is the first step towards preventing the Lassa scourge.

He, also, suggested concrete measures towards eliminating rats and rodents, the carriers of the disease. He warned residents against violating environmental law, which prohibits roaming about, trading and other activities during sanitation hours.