Plateau records 7 cases of Lassa fever

Plateau records 7 cases of Lassa fever

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 9:34 am

file photo: Doctors attend to a Lassa fever patient

file photo: Doctors attend to a Lassa fever patient

Plateau Government on Monday said it had recorded seven cases of Lassa fever in the state.

The Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Kamshak Kuden,Kuden, disclosed this to newsmen after the State Executive Council meeting in Jos.

“Last year, between November and December, we battled with this viral haemorhagic fever, we had some casualties but we were able to contain it.

“However, we have recently recorded seven cases of Lassa fever; we took their blood samples to Irruwa Lassa Fever Laboratory, Edo, two of them are confirmed to have the disease, two were negative and we are yet to get the results of the other three.

“The confirmed cases include a Fulani lady from Riyom Local Government Area and a student of University of Jos.

“Both of them were admitted at Jos University Teaching Hospital,“ he said.

The commissioner said the student was treated and discharged, while the lady was was still on admission, adding that she was, however, responding to treatment.

He said those that had contact with the suspects were under surveillance.

The commissioner said the ministry had began “contact tracing” to monitor the suspects for a period of 21 days, hoping that none came down with the virus.

“What we want to tell people of the state is that Lassa fever is back and the mode of transmission is through a particular specie of rat.

“We want to advise people to maintain high level of sanitation and hygiene and to keep foodstuffs in rat proven containers,“ he said.

The commissioner also called on health workers to keep a “very high level index of suspicion” to combat the disease.

He also called on disease surveillance officers in the 17 local government areas of the state to be on alert to enable them discover fresh cases early.

He said Lassa fever could be treated if discovered early.

Meanwhile, the  Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Monday urged the Federal Government to establish laboratories for the test of Lassa fever virus and other viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) cases in the country.

The Secretary of the Association in Anambra, Dr Tony Okoye, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha.

Okoye said the establishment of such laboratories would reduce risks to patients and healthcare workers.

“The Lassa virus testing laboratory at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo, was established by the Federal Government. It is the only facility in the country and should be replicated by the state governments for emergencies.

“It is good to have them in more places although it is cost intensive in terms of personnel and equipment,” he said.

Okoye, who said that Lassa virus could be detected at an early stage of illness, could kill patients within two weeks. (NAN)

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