Lassa Fever: Death Toll Now 40, Spreads To 10 States | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

News, Slider

Lassa Fever: Death Toll Now 40, Spreads To 10 States

Posted: Jan 8, 2016 at 7:54 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Innocent Oweh, Abuja

The number of persons reported to have died of the Lassa Fever as at Friday stands at 40.

According to the Federal Ministry of Health,five new deaths were recorded again shoring up the number from 35 to 40, while the total number of reported cases in parts of the country currently stands at 86,representing 43.2 percent of the infected population.

Meanwhile, laboratories have confirmed 17 cases which are indicative of a new round-trip of the fever outbreak as 80% of human infections are asymptomatic while the remaining cases have severe multi- system disease, where the virus affects several organs such as lever, spleen and kidneys.

Health experts says the onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and bleeding from mouth, nose, vagina, or gastrointestinal tract and low blood pressure.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole,gave these additional enlightenment in Abuja, stating that two more states, namely Plateau and Gombe have been affected by the disease which has lasted for six weeks.

“The total number so far reported is 86 and 40 deaths, with a mortality rate of 43.2%. Our laboratories have confirmed 17 cases, indicative of a new roundtrip of Lassa fever outbreak,”he noted.

He said modalities have been put in place to curb the spread of the disease which can also occur and be transmitted in health facilities where infection prevention and control practices are not observed. They include “immediate release of adequate quantities of ribavirin, the specific antiviral drug for Lassa fever to all the affected states for prompt and adequate treatment of cases.”

“Deployment of rapid response teams from the ministry to all the affected states to assist in investigating and verifying the cases as well as tracing contacts. Clinicians and relevant health workers had been sensitized and mobilised in areas of patient management and care in the affected states as well as intensifying awareness creation on the signs and symptoms including preventive measure such as general hygiene.”

He said Nigeria has the capability to diagnose Lassa fever as all reported cases were confirmed in the nation’s laboratories. “However, due to the non-specific nature of Lassa fever symptoms and varied presentations, clinical diagnosis is often difficult and delayed, especially in the early course of the disease outbreak.”

While calling on all Nigerians to as a matter of urgency, cover all food to prevent rodents’ contamination and to report all suspected cases to enable early treatment, he advised that individuals should “avoid contact with rodents/rats as well as food/objects contaminated with rats’ secretion and excretions. Avoid drying food in the open and along the roadside.

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been notified of the confirmed cases and have called on healthcare workers, who are expected to ensure that all patients are treated freely to immediately contact the state epidemiologists in the state ministry of health or call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. And the Federal Ministry of Health on : 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.

Meanwhile, Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness which was first detected in Nigeria in 1969 and comes with bleeding and death in severe cases, with an incubation period of 6-21 days?.