Barely 24 hours after the Federal Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole confirmed that 41 persons had died so far form the Lassa fever outbreak, with 93 people in 10 states going through treatments, but said there were no reports of new cases, the epidemic seem to have gotten to the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The Minister confirmed this yesterday in Abuja. A man, reportedly brought in from Jos in Plateau state, which is one of the 10 affected states, died yesterday. This has raised the official number of deaths to 42.
Also Read: Lassa Fever: All You Need To Know
According to the Medical Director, National Hospital Abuja, Dr. Jack Momoh, the man had spent one week at a private hospital in Abuja, before he was referred to the National Hospital where he tested positive to Lassa fever and died 24 hours later.
To this effect, the Minister of Health during a briefing in Abuja called on Health workers at all levels to be more vigilant and look out for patients with symptoms of the virus.
He also directed that all primary and secondary contacts of the victim be tracked including the staff of the private hospital in Kubwa, where the deceased was first admitted for one week before being referred to the National Hospital.
He also advised that family members of the deceased report at the nearest hospital if anyone has fever for more than two days.
The Minister also told Abuja residents that there is no cause for alarm not to and advised them to maintain high level vigilance and present themselves for test if they feel unhealthy or they feel symptoms of Lassa fever which include high fever, stooling, tiredness, vomiting, etc., and also discouraged them from taking self-medication.
Prof. Adewole assured Nigerians not to fret as adequate measures have been put in place to curb the spread of the disease which can also occur and be transmitted in health facilities where infection prevention and control practices are not observed.
The measures being put in place by the Ministry to arrest curb the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country includes:
“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 sensitized and mobilized 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.
Other measures is to cover all food to prevent rodents’ contamination and to report all suspected cases to enable early treatment.
Individuals should also avoid contact with rodents/rats as well as food/objects contaminated with rats’ secretion and excretions. Drying food in the open and along the roadside. should be avoided.