Lassa Fever: What states are doing to tackle outbreak – NGF

LASSA FEVER: Rats used to illustrate the story.
Rats used to illustrate the story.

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has said that state governors are working towards ensuring precautional measures are taken in their various states to tackle the current Lassa fever epidemic.

Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State governor and chairman of the forum, said this on Wednesday while addressing journalists after a meeting of the 36 state governors, at the NGF secretariat in Abuja.

He said the state governors are partnering with other health stakeholders and agencies to tackle the disease.

”On the epidemic that has happened in one or two states – Ondo State in the southwest and Kano in the north – this is the period when we have an upsurge particularly in Lassa fever and I believe all our states are taking precautionary measures to address this.

”We are working in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control to ensure this does not spread any further than it has at the moment,” Mr Fayemi said.

Lassa fever is a major public health challenge in West Africa, with Nigeria bearing the highest burden of affected persons. At least 16 people have so far died in a fresh outbreak of the disease in Ondo State, and about 84 cases have also been recorded since the beginning of the year.

In Kano State, the outbreak has killed three victims, including a pregnant woman and two medical doctors, after they were diagnosed with the virus at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control, (NCDC) said at least 82 cases of the disease has been detected across Nigeria in 2020 with at least 14 deaths.

“In total for 2020, eight states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 13 Local Government Areas; 89 percent of all confirmed cases are from Edo (38 percent), Ondo (38 per cent) and Ebonyi (11 per cent) States.

“The predominant age-group affected is 11-40 years (Range: >11 to 60 years, Median Age: 33 years). The male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:1.

“The number of suspected cases has increased but is lower than the numbers reported in 2019. One Health Care Worker infection was identified in the reporting week 02.”

For the prevention of the disease, medical experts have advised people to avoid direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva and blood of infected rodents.



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