One person died from lassa fever in Nasarawa State.
The Nasarawa State Commissioner for Health, Emmanuel Akabe, on Thursday confirmed that there is an outbreak of Lassa fever in Lafia, which has so far claimed the life of one person.
Mr. Akabe, who confirmed the death of the victim in an interview in Lafia, said the victim died on Tuesday at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital.
He said that the infected person was admitted into the hospital last week with symptoms of severe fever and bleeding.
The commissioner explained that these symptoms prompted the medical personnel to send his blood specimen to the Lassa fever diagnostic centre at Irua in Edo, where he was confirmed positive to lassa infection.
Mr. Akabe explained that the hospital did its best to quickly seclude and treat him, and he became fairly stable until Tuesday when he died. He disclosed that blood specimen taken from the victim’s wife and others who had close contact with him was sent for examination and all came out negative.
The commissioner said a team of medical personnel had been deployed to Bukan Sidi area of the town where the deceased resided with a view to educating the people about the Lassa fever.
He said that the ministry had commenced sensitisation programme in Lafia and its environs educating the people to look out for such symptoms to quickly save lives, saying early detection of the disease would guarantee proper management and treatment.
“If the deceased had reported early enough to the hospital, the situation would not have gotten to this bad.
“He came to the hospital at the bleeding stage of the disease,” Mr. Akabe said.
The commissioner, therefore, charged members of the public to shun self-medication but to visit the nearest hospital for proper medical attention in order to stay alive.
He also encouraged the people to properly cook and cover their food as well as imbibe the culture of maintaining good environmental habits that would keep rodents, “which are the major agents of Lassa fever, away from sources of food.’’
On the need to have a Lassa fever diagnostic centre in the state, Mr. Akabe said considering the capital intensive nature of such centres, it would be difficult to establish for now.
He noted that there were only two of such centres in the country at present.
He recalled that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health in 2013 promised to establish the Lassa fever diagnosis centre in each of the geo political zones considering the recurrent outbreak of the disease and its fatality rate in parts of the country.
Mr. Akabe, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the plan to establish such centres, saying, “it will go a long way to save more lives through early detection and treatment.”
The commissioner said that the state government was working in collaboration with an organisation in the U.S. with the aim of establishing a research institute in Lafia to handle issues related to diagnosis and treatment of viral diseases, including lassa fever, TB, HIV/AIDS, among others.
He explained that the project was expected to be funded by the U.S., adding that a Memorandum of Understanding will soon be signed to that effect.
The victim was a civil servant, who worked in the office of the Deputy Governor, Dameshi Luka.