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Health: Lassa fever epidemic has hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and person confirmed dead

lassa fever
The Lassa fever epidemic has hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with a patient who tested positive to the virus said to have died at the National Hospital 24 hours after he was admitted patient.
The latest mortality has raised the number of deaths to 43 across the country.
The man who was brought in from Plateau State, which is one of the 10 affected states, spent one week at a private hospital in Abuja before he was rushed to the National Hospital where he tested positive to Lassa fever and died within 24 hours.
‎The minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole, and the chief medical director of the hospital, Dr Jaf Momoh, confirmed the report after a closed-door meeting.
The minister has, however, directed a proper investigation of those who came into contact with the dead patient and the private hospital.
‎Adewole stated that the onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, cheat pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and bleeding from mouth, nose, vagina, or gastrointestinal tract and low blood pressure. The disease can also be transmitted in health facilities where infection prevention and control practices are not carefully observed
Adewole advised Nigerians not to fear as modalities had been put in place to curb the spread of the disease.
According to the minister, the measures include “immediate release of adequate quantities of ribavirin, the specific antiviral drug for Lassa fever, to all the affected states for prompt and adequate treatment of cases.
“Deployment of rapid response teams from the ministry to all the affected states to assist in investigating and verifying the cases as well as tracing contacts. Clinicians and relevant health workers had been sensitised and mobilised in areas of patient management and care in the affected states as well as intensifying awareness creation on the signs and symptoms, including preventive measure such as general hygiene.”
He said Nigeria had the capability to diagnose Lassa fever as all reported cases were confirmed in the nation’s laboratories.
“However, due to the non-specific nature of Lassa fever symptoms and varied presentations, clinical diagnosis is often difficult and delayed, especially in the early course of the disease outbreak,” he said.
While calling on all Nigerians to, as a matter of urgency, cover all food to prevent contamination by rodents and to report all suspected cases immediately to enable early treatment, he advised that individuals should “avoid contact with rodents/rats as well as food/objects contaminated with rats’ secretions and excretions, and to avoid drying food in the open and along the roadside.”
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had been notified of the confirmed cases.
The minister called on healthcare workers, who are expected to ensure that all patients are treated freely, to immediately contact the state epidemiologists in the state ministry of health or call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and the Federal Ministry of Health on: 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.
Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness which was first detected in Nigeria in 1969 and comes with bleeding and death in severe cases, with an incubation period of 6-21 days.
Lassa Fever: Improved efforts needed, reps tell health ministry, others
The House of Representatives has called for improved effort by the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant agencies towards stamping out the scourge of Lassa fever in the country.
The House also urged the federal government to avail the agencies involved with adequate funds needed in the effort to end the spread of the disease across the states of the federation.
The resolutions were sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance, sponsored by Hon. Chike Okafor, at plenary yesterday.
Okafor told the House that in an effort to arrest the spread of the disease, measures that will ensure a lasting solution must also be employed by the agencies.
“The outbreak of Lassa fever has led to the death of over 41 innocent Nigerians with over 93 Nigerians allegedly infected by this killer virus as it has spread to Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Gombe and Oyo states.
“There is no cure for this virus at the moment and this is not the first time Lassa fever killer virus is occurring in Nigeria; it has continued to wreak havoc in the lives of helpless Nigerians who fall victim of this disease.
“Since the outbreak of this killer virus, with the rate at which it has spread into 10 states in the country, citizens of the country have continued to live in fear,” he said.
After its passage, the motion was also referred to the House Standing Committee on Healthcare Services for further action.
Lassa fever: Our Eateries in Abuja are safe – Owners
Eatery owners in Abuja have asserted that they have improved sanitisation in their premises to ensure the safety of their foods in view of the outbreak of Lassa fever in some states in the country.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) they said that they had already put in place measures to ensure that their clients do not get infected with Lassa fever.
Mr Mohammed Sani, the Supervisor of Drumstix (Ajomobi’s Kitchen) at Asokoro, told NAN that the eatery was doing well in the area of sanitisation to avoid the occurrence of Lassa fever.
“We fumigate our vicinity every two weeks, and at night after closing we apply pesticide in and outside of the building. After closing for the day, we keep our plates, spoon and trays in water based sanitiser and wash them in the morning.
“We have what we call ‘three bucket system of cleaning’ – soapy water to mob, warm water to clean and sanitiser to sanitise the area,’’ he said.
Sani maintained that staff of the eatery was expected to wash their hands with sanitiser every 30 minutes.
At Chicken Republic eatery located at Wuse II, Abdulsalam Abdurauf, the manager, told NAN that at the outbreak of Lassa fever the eatery’s head-quarters in Lagos sent an email to all the branches to improve on sanitisation.
“We have adhered to the instruction; we have fumigated the whole vicinity both back and front. The eatery has trained all its staff in the prevention and control of Lassa fever. We don’t have rats in and around our eatery; therefore, we believe that Lassa fever will not be the portion of our clients,’’ Sani said.
Mr Ahmed Jimoh, the supervisor of Mr. Biggs at Wuse II, said that the eatery was conscious of hygiene, adding that it fumigates the surroundings twice in a month to ensure that rats and other insects do not come near the vicinity.
“We always clean our floor with water and sanitiser to make sure we disinfect our chairs, plates, spoon and trays. We also keep an eye on our staff to make sure they adhere to the policy of cleanliness in the eatery,’’ he said.
Mr Ademola Torise, the manager of Mama Cass at Garki 2, told NAN the company would continue to do more in the area of fumigation.
Torise said that its policy of cleanliness had checked any possible outbreak of Lassa fever.
“We do not have rats in our eatery and we have always ensured that they do not come near. We also use sanitiser and disinfectant to make sure our utensils are free from germs and infection,’’ he said.
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