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Lassa fever kills Kogi doctor, 10 cases recorded in Ondo

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The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected multimammate rat.

The medical doctor who contacted Lassa fever while treating a seven-month old infant victim has died of the disease.

The baby died last Friday, a day after being admitted. The Guardian gathered that late doctor, Idowu Ahmed, died in Irua, Edo State where he was being treated.

Until his death, he was a house officer at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja were he contacted the disease from the baby.

In a statement to announce the death of Ahmed, the Kogi State Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Godwin Tijani, described the deceased as a man who was committed to his job.

Meanwhile, the disease is spreading as 10 cases have been reported in the northern senatorial district of Ondo State.

Cases of the dangerous fever had been reported in some states, including Enugu, Ebonyi and Kogi.

The Guardian gathered that six people were infected with the virus in Ose and Owo local government areas, while four cases were reported in Akoko, all in Ondo State.

According to medical findings, Lassa fever transmits to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodents’ urine or faeces.

Some of the infected persons were hospitalised at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo, while others with critical conditions have been referred to Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.

A medical doctor at the FMC in Owo revealed that four members of the same family were rushed to the centre from Oka-Akoko.

The expert, who urged the state government to show enough commitment to containing the virus, said health workers at the FMC were working under the fear of contracting the virus.

The Chief Medical Director, Dr. Liasu Ahmed, who also confirmed the outbreak, declined to give further details, saying it was the prerogative of the state government to do so.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahaab Adegbenro, could not be reached for comment as he was attending the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting.

In a related development, the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases yesterday began move to give legislative backing to the establishment of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The NCDC was established in 2011 as a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health with the mandate to coordinate public health response to communicable diseases but it has never been backed with the Act of the Parliament.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Balla Ibn Na’allah who declared a public hearing on the bill open, said it would formally and legally establish the NCDC when signed into law.

He lamented that over the past two decades, the re-emergence of infectious diseases had threatened the health system in Nigeria.

‘’In 2017, Nigeria had a number of outbreak of diseases such as meningitis, yellow fever, monkey pox and Lassa fever. This centre will strengthen health information systems to support prevention and control measures of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

‘’The centre will also help to prevent, detect, monitor and control diseases of national and international public health concern, including emerging and re-emerging diseases,” he said.
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, urged the Senate to speed up the process for enacting the law.

The Chief Executive Officer of NCDC and consultant epidemiologist, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told The Guardian yesterday that Nigeria had continued to face recurrent epidemics and outbreak of infectious diseases. He said the situation had called for establishment of a strong and secure national public health institute.


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