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NCDC send response team to Ebonyi after outbreak of Lassa fever

By Haruna Gimba

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has sent a rapid-response team to Ebonyi state after an outbreak of Lassa fever
among health workers in a hospital.

Four separate cases of the disease among medical staff Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA) were reported on Sunday; three of
them have died.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu

The Chief Executive of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said “Health care workers in health facilities are particularly at risk of contracting
the disease, especially where infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures are not strictly adhered to.

“We therefore strongly advise that health care workers practice universal care precautions while handling patients at all times, not
just when Lassa fever is suspected.”

The response team is to help with coordination; trace all who have come in contact with the hospital staff, manage those infected, and
strengthen procedures for disease prevention and control. It is also providing medicines and supplies to manage the cases.

Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic disease, caused by contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.
The virus that causes Lassa, named after a Borno town where it was first discovered nearly 50 years ago, can spread between humans
through direct contact with blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected. The disease has no vaccine, but it can be prevented.

NCDC has issued guidelines for prevention, control and management of the disease. It advises the public to keep environments clean to
‘discourage rats from entering homes.’

“Food stuff should be stored in rodent-proof containers, garbage should be disposed properly and far from the home, and hand washing
should be practiced frequently,” NCDC said.

About Asmau Ahmad

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