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Lassa fever kills 10 people in Nigeria

by Haruna Gimba

By Muhammad Amaan

Lassa fever have killed 10 persons in Ebonyi State from January 4 to February 16, 2024, the state Ministry of Health disclosed.

The Disease Surveillance Notification Officer of the ministry, Mr Sampson Orogwu, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Abakaliki, the state capital.

Orogwu stated that 25 persons were infected, including two healthcare workers.

He added that “16 out of the 25 infected persons are males, while nine are females.

“The dead include a pregnant woman and two children.

“The affected local government areas include: Onicha, Ikwo, Ezza North, Ebonyi, Izzi, Ohaukwu and Abakaliki with Hausa quarters and Nkaliki areas in Abakaliki recording the highest number of cases.”

He, therefore, urged residents to report suspected cases to the ministry as treatment is free.

The State Epidemiologist, Dr Ogbonna Nwambeke, also in the statement, said the state government had been collaborating with relevant partners to check the spread of the disease.

He said, “We call for the provision of logistics to increase surveillance and community engagement against risk factors.

“People are also advised to stop bush burning, avoid eating rats and not to touch any surface touched by an infected person.

“We also advise people to maintain a high level of personal and environmental hygiene such as covering their food and utensils properly.”

Nwambeke appreciated the state government’s provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to health workers at the National Obstetrics Fistula Centre to secure their lives and to save others.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.

Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats.

It is common in West Africa, with most people getting mild symptoms, like fever and headache.

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