Lassa Fever: Enugu Confirms Second Death


Gideon Arinze in Enugu

Enugu State Ministry of Health said  it has recorded a second case of Lassa Fever death in the state.

Permanent  Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, who confirmed the case while addressing newsmen yesterday, said the victim, a 24-year-old pregnant woman died on Thursday night at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH Enugu, stating that plans are underway to give the body a safe burial.

According to him, the latest victim brings the total number of Lassa-fever-related deaths in the state to two out of three confirmed cases, adding that the first casualty, a 45 -year-old farmer who died on January 22 has since been buried.

He said that after necessary tests were carried out on the three confirmed cases, it was discovered that a total of 189 people had contacts with the first casualty while 39 people had contacts with the second victim, an ex-corps member while four contacts were traced to the last casualty.  He explained that the ex-corps member who was discovered to be with the disease after she returned from Benue State, during the festive period, was doing well as her case has been managed successfully, adding that others who had contacts were presently being treated.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information, Chidi Aroh, said that the state government has made efforts to ensure that the epidemic is properly managed in line with international best practice and national protocol on the handling of the issue of Lass Fever.

He said that a multi-sectoral rapid response team, comprising the Ministry of Health, the hospital management board, public health emergency control centre and other relevant sectors has since been set up to look at how best to manage the epidemic.

“From the point when we received a report of the outbreak of Lassa fever in Enugu, the governor has made available all the resources, both technical and material to the emergency response team and hospitals to ensure that the state is save,” he said.

He noted that the state government has approved the purchase and delivery of relevant materials to all critical medical facilities in the state and has also provided emergency facilities and required drugs to deal with further outbreak of the disease in all medical centres in the state.

He explained that the governor has since approved the running of jingles in all radio stations as a way of informing the populace on how best to avoid the epidemic and has also made sure that all primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state are educated on how best to avoid the epidemic.

He advised all citizens in the state to be careful of what they eat and make sure to always cover their food to avoid contacting the virus which can be spread by rodents.