‘106 deaths, 651 Lassa fever cases recorded in 18 states’
Patients in stable condition as experts recommend optimal hygiene, zero-tolerance to rats
The Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, has said that besides the three persons under surveillance that tested positive to Lassa fever, the 150 persons currently under surveillance, and two others confirmed dead on Tuesday, the virus is “now under check.”
Bode, who made the assertion yesterday, told The Guardian that there are “no new cases of Lassa fever.” He said the affected resident doctor and the two new patients are in stable condition and responding to treatment. He, however, said that the 150 people exposed to the cases are still under surveillance.
Also, a 22-year-old male patient was yesterday reported to have been under medical observation for suspected Lassa fever case at the Ogun State General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, who confirmed the case to journalists, said the patient had been placed under watch by doctors.The paediatric surgeon said there is no cause for alarm but Lagosians and indeed Nigerians must improve on their personal and community hygiene.
“There must be zero-tolerance to rats. Cover your food items such as garri, beans and rice from the reach of rats and other rodents. They are the carriers of this virus,” he advised.
According to the latest figures on Lassa fever in Nigeria from the World Health Organisation (WHO): “Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever illness that is known to be endemic in various West African countries, including Nigeria. As of June 9, 2017, a total of 501 suspected cases, including 104 deaths, have been reported since the onset of the current Lassa fever outbreaks season in December 2016. Of the reported cases, 189 have been further classified, 175 laboratory-confirmed, including 59 deaths and 14 probable cases (all dead).
“Until this August 2017, during the current Lassa fever outbreak, 17 Nigerian states (Anambra, Bauchi, Borno, Cross-River, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba) have reported at least one confirmed case. As of June 9, 2017, the outbreak is still active in nine states (Anambra, Bauchi, Cross-River, Edo, Taraba, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau and Kano).”
The WHO said the ongoing outbreak response is focused at state and federal levels and involves co-ordination of weekly Lassa fever review meeting in conjunction with World Health Organisation, United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and the African Field Epidemiology Network.
According to the organisation, the following response measures are being carried out:
• Enhanced surveillance ongoing in all affected states and Lassa fever cases are reported to the federal level and contact-tracing ongoing in affected states with an active outbreak through the state surveillance team.
• The line listing of cases reported across all the states is ongoing and data are uploaded in the VHF database.
• Lassa fever treatment centres have been established in the affected states to support case management. These centres are supplied with case management as well as infection prevention and control supplies.
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